Former Border Patrol union chief reacts to dropped charges - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Former Border Patrol union chief reacts to dropped charges

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Corruption charges have been dropped against the former president for the National Border Patrol Council.

Terence J. "TJ" Bonner says his name was dragged through the mud as he was accused of defrauding the organization of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Bonner served as the president from 1989 to 2011 and says his reputation has been damaged and this isn't over.

In August 2012 when Bonner was indicted, Bonner told CBS News 8 in an exclusive interview he was innocent and framed for being outspoken about political issues.

"This is about as egregious misconduct as you can find," said Bonner.

He says agents wrongfully accused him of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds from fellow Border Patrol agents to pay for flights to see his mistress in Chicago and downloading pornography.

"I want to go out and tell the world what really happened and the outrageous misconduct by the government," said Bonner.

From his home in Campo, Bonner who is now retired says he doesn't deny what he did at his home or having an extra martial affair but he didn't spend union money doing it.

"Those were not federal crimes they were just doing it to dirty up my name," said Bonner.

On Tuesday, a U.S. District judge agreed to drop charges based on the scope of the search warrant. Agents seized electronic devices and allegedly found more than four million pornographic images and roughly five billion pages of text.

The warrant was valid but the Court found agents exceeded the scope of the warrant pertaining to the electronic devices.

"I would hope this would come back as an absolute embarrassment for the government," said Bonner. "You can't un-ring that bell. Everyone is going to say, 'isn't that the guy who had the extra-marital affair and had all those images?'"

He says his mission now is to get Congress to listen to keep others from being a target when speaking up against political agendas.

"What we need is accountability," said Bonner.

The current president for the Border Patrol Council, Shawn Moran, says the board is not commenting about the case.

Prosecutors say they don't plan to appeal.

A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy released an e-mail statement:

"Earlier today, the U.S. Attorney's Office moved to dismiss the charges in the criminal case of United States v. Terence Bonner. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the case.

The United States moved to dismiss the case against Terence Bonner as a result of the suppression of evidence seized from the defendant's residence in March 2012. Although the district court found that law enforcement obtained a valid warrant, it ruled that the agents exceeded the scope of the warrant when seizing electronic evidence. The United States contested the court's ruling, but recognizes that the decision was within the court's prerogative and does not intend to appeal the decision.

"The grand jury found probable cause that Mr. Bonner had committed the offenses set forth in the indictment," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "From time to time in criminal cases certain evidence is suppressed for legal or technical reasons. We respect the process and the court."

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