News Item: Customs officer charged in SoCal immigrant smuggling probe
(Category: Blue GANG News)
Posted by MJF
Friday 09 June 2006 - 10:49:43

Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer is accused of helping smuggle illegal immigrants into the country in exchange for thousands of dollars.

Officer Michael Anthony Gilliland, 44, was charged in federal court Wednesday with allowing immigrant smugglers to pass freely through his inspection lane at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry 15 miles southeast of downtown San Diego. He is being held without bail pending a hearing on Friday.

He was arrested Tuesday following a two-year investigation by the Border Corruption Task Force, a multi-agency group that focuses on officers at the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro Ports of Entry.

"This type of corruption poses a fundamental threat to the security of our border and nation," said Dan Dzwilewski, the special agent in charge of the FBI's San Diego office.

The Los Angeles Times reported that it was unable to reach Gilliland's attorney.

Gilliland, who worked the graveyard shift, is accused of conspiring with at least two female partners to allow migrant-filled vehicles through his inspection lane. One of the women, Marina Perez de Garcia of Tijuana, also was charged.

Wiretaps captured Gilliland and the women discussing when smugglers' vehicles could cross, according to an 11-page affidavit filed by FBI agent Terry C. Reed Jr.

Undercover agents watched Gilliland leave one of the women's homes with a plastic bag they suspected contained cash, Reed wrote.

Gilliland was arrested a few days after San Diego police working with the task force pulled over a Lincoln Navigator that had driven through Gilliland's lane and found 10 illegal immigrants inside, including the driver, according to Reed's affidavit.

Gilliland could face five years in prison if convicted.

This news item is from White Trash Networks
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