SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two men, including a border guard, who allegedly accepted bribes from undercover agents they thought were drug smugglers, were arraigned Friday on suspicion of bribery, conspiracy to import cocaine and other charges.
Oscar Osbaldo Ortiz-Martinez, 30, of El Centro, a Customs and Border Protection Officer in Calexico, was arrested Thursday as he tried to accept what he allegedly thought was a $30,000 bribe for allowing a vehicle with drugs hidden inside to pass through his inspection station two days earlier, according to a four-count criminal complaint.
Co-defendant Victor Manuel Silva Jr., 30, also of El Centro, is accused of being the alleged middleman between Ortiz-Martinez and the bogus drug traffickers who were actually undercover officers, according to the complaint.
Both were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter C. Lewis in federal court in El Centro.
The complaint alleges that Ortiz-Martinez received $22,000 for allowing vehicles he believed to be carrying drugs to pass through his primary inspection lane on June 3 and Sept. 21.
According to the complaint, the defendants thought they were taking bribes from drug traffickers who were in fact undercover agents and informants.
The defendants are scheduled to return to court Tuesday for a detention hearing.
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