SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A veteran Customs and Border Protection officer accused of knowingly letting his fugitive brother-in-law pass through the San Ysidro Port of Entry made his initial appearance in federal court Monday and was ordered held without bail.
Thomas Silva, 33, was arrested Friday by the FBI's Border Corruption Task Force.
He answered "yes" when Magistrate Judge William Gallo asked him if he understood that he was charged with wire fraud and concealing a person from arrest.
Gallo scheduled a detention hearing for Wednesday when prosecutor Peter Mazza said the government wanted Silva held without bail because he was a flight risk. The judge also appointed an attorney for the defendant.
According to a federal arrest warrant, Silva had been under investigation since November 2010 because of "detected irregularities" with his work. Specifically, the CBP alleged that Silva allowed individuals with "imposter immigration documents" to pass through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Among the individuals Silva allegedly helped get into the United States illegally was his brother-in-law, Julio Cesar Landaverde Valdez, a federal fugitive convicted in 2006 of alien smuggling after he tried to enter the country at the San Ysidro Port of Entry with an undocumented immigrant hidden in a vehicle.
Silva, a nine-year veteran of the CBP, is also accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud Farmers Insurance Co. by filing a false vehicle theft claim. He was paid more than $7,000 as a result of the allegedly false claim, federal authorities said.