US Customs: Mexican cartels corrupt border agentsUnmentioned in this story is the underlying problem that many of the men hired to guard the southern border have relatives on the south side of that border, where corruption is a tradition—a reader came up with this short list:
By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN (AP) March 11, 2010
McALLEN - Mexican drug cartels are infiltrating federal law enforcement agencies along the southwest border and those charged with weeding them out say they don't have the money to catch all the corrupt agents, homeland security officials told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.
James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Internal Affairs, told a Senate homeland security subcommittee in Washington that only about one in 10 of the new hires for agency jobs are given polygraph tests, and of those, 60 percent are deemed unsuitable for employment.
That means that many who joined the agency during the recent hiring boom and did not take polygraphs could have joined with corruption already in mind, Tomsheck said.
"That 60 percent number is alarming to me," said U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who chaired the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration.
The Associated Press reported last year that four applicants for border protection jobs were not hired when polygraph tests and background checks confirmed they were infiltrators from drug trafficking operations.
"Transnational criminal organizations are doing all they can to infiltrate CBP through our hiring initiatives," Tomsheck told the subcommittee.
An AP investigation tallied corruption-related convictions against more than 80 enforcement officials at all levels—federal, state and local—along the southwest border since 2007.
Since 2003, 129 customs officers and Border Patrol agents have been arrested on corruption charges, said Tom Frost, the Department of Homeland Security's assistant inspector general for investigations. That figure included the northern border and other ports of entry.[More]
Update: A reader pointed out that two of the names that appear on that list are Ramos and Compean. (The reader had Googled "border patrol" and "corruption" in 2006.)
However, Ramos and Compean were not actually examples of corruption, but of Bush Administration malfeasance.