As if enough drugs and illegal immigrants are not already being trafficked into the U.S. through Mexico, a federal agent has been arrested and charged after helping smugglers pass cocaine and an undocumented alien through a Texas border crossing. His name is Oberlin Cortez Peña, and he works for the U.S. Border Patrol (BP), the frontline Homeland Security agency charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., protecting the American people, and safeguarding our borders. On two separate occasions, Peña took $1,000 in exchange for helping a vehicle carrying at least five kilograms of cocaine through the checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, federal prosecutors say. The crossing is situated in an area north of the Rio Grande River that federal authorities say is the nation’s busiest for “alien and narcotic traffic.” Peña “utilized his knowledge as a BP agent in acting as a scout and providing information about the inspection lanes and which one to utilize,” according to a statement issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) this month.
The disgraced federal agent, who is 22 years old, also gave smugglers detailed instructions on how to conceal the drugs in a motor vehicle and tactics to distract the BP canine unit at the checkpoint. Authorities launched an investigation in the middle of June after receiving information that a BP agent was involved in human smuggling, according to a federal complaint. The feds set up a sting operation and had an informant contact Peña, who agreed to take money to provide the informant with advice. Peña said he would drive ahead on his way to work and communicate which checkpoint lane to smuggle the illegal immigrant, referred to as IA in the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas over the weekend. “PENA provided detailed instruction on when the smuggling had a highest rate of success, and instructions on how to conceal the IA,” the complaint states. Authorities say that meeting occurred on June 21.
The following day, the agent met the cooperator at a mall in McAllen, Texas to discuss smuggling arrangements. The informant said he had five kilograms of cocaine to smuggle through the BP Falfurrias checkpoint and the corrupt agent agreed to be paid $1,000 for conducting countersurveillance, federal prosecutors write in the complaint. Peña also agreed to check the BP schedule to see which agents would be working on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. The agent “was willing to transport the 5 kilograms of cocaine if there were rookie agents working at the time,” the federal complaint states. He also told the cooperator to relay what type of compartment the cocaine would be in and the license plates of the load vehicle so that he could check the plates for any alerts. Peña received a photo of a Magellan backpack cooler where the cocaine would be hidden and advised that the drugs be hidden inside the cooler walls with the insulation.
Here is another scary tidbit involving this story. After checking the BP schedule Peña discouraged the operation on the originally planned date because the agents working that day “were good.” He suggested moving the smuggling to another day when the BP team on duty “sucks” and all the agents are “rookies.” After the cocaine passed through the checkpoint, the government source met Peña at a La Joya, Texas eatery and paid him $1,000. The men coordinated another cocaine shipment for later in the week and, once again, Peña agreed to check the BP work schedule, conduct surveillance, and find out if the vehicle’s license plate had been flagged. After that drug shipment made it through, the crooked federal agent met the informant at a gas station in Falfurrias and the informant paid him $1,000. Peña is charged with attempting to aid and abet possession with intent to distribute five or more kilos of cocaine and faces up to a decade in prison. Earlier in the year Peña was arrested for driving under the influence, according to a local news report.
Between the start of the 2021 fiscal year in October and May Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seized an astounding 92,000 pounds of drugs from vehicles at the Mexican border, according to agency figures cited in a national news article. Another piece reveals federal agents have seen a “staggering 4,000 percent increase in fentanyl seizures over the last three years,” but not at ports of entry. The fentanyl is being smuggled by brazen smugglers through the desert. A chief BP agent is quoted saying that “cartels are very creative” and that they ‘intimidate migrants and find ways to illegally have them transport that narcotic into the United States.” The last thing we need is an American federal agent like Peña helping them.