Border Patrol agent accused of being illegal alien and smuggling illegals


August 10, 2005, 01:18 PM
U.S. agent accused of aiding illegals

By Jerry Seper
August 10, 2005

A U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of being an illegal alien and smuggling other illegals into the United States faces a bail hearing today in federal court in San Diego.
Oscar Antonio Ortiz, 28, a Mexican citizen born in Tijuana, is charged with using a fraudulent birth certificate to obtain a job with the agency in 2001 and alien smuggling. The numbered certificate claimed he was born in Chicago, although authorities have since discovered it belonged to a man born a month earlier.
Mr. Ortiz, who was assigned at the agency's El Cajon field station 35 miles east of San Diego, pleaded not guilty to the felony charges during a hearing Friday. He was ordered held until today's bail review before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.
Law-enforcement authorities said Mr. Ortiz and another unidentified Border Patrol agent became the targets of an undercover investigation after they were overheard on intercepted telephone conversations discussing on "many occasions" the smuggling of migrants into the United States through a border area near Tecate, which they patrolled.
Transcripts from the intercepted calls show the unidentified agent told a family member in May that he and Mr. Ortiz smuggled several dozen people into the country and had been paid fees ranging from $300 to $2,000 a person.
The intercepted calls, authorities said, came during an investigation by the North County Regional Gang Task Force in San Diego into a suspected drug ring.
Mr. Ortiz was arrested Thursday in Escondido, Calif., by agents from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and placed on administrative leave.
Assisting in the arrest were Escondido police, the North County gang unit and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
"Any agent who defies the Border Patrol's motto of 'Honor First' and chooses to violate the trust of the citizens they swore to protect will be held accountable," Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar in Washington said. "There is no place in the Border Patrol for behavior that tarnishes and discredits the badge we proudly wear."
Mr. Ortiz's attorney, Stephen White, was not available yesterday for comment. If convicted, Mr. Ortiz could face up to 13 years in prison.
Border Patrol officials declined to discuss the case, although Assistant U.S. Attorney Alana Wong in San Diego told Judge Battaglia during Friday's hearing that Mr. Ortiz has resigned from the agency. Prosecutors argued that Mr. Ortiz should remain in jail until his case is decided.
Federal prosecutors have not identified the second agent or said whether that agent also faces charges. Authorities said the second agent also had been placed on administrative leave.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 11,000 nonsupervisory Border Patrol agents, called the arrest "embarrassing," but described Mr. Ortiz and the unidentified second agent as "rogue agents."
"The overwhelming majority of the agents are out there risking their lives, enforcing immigration laws, doing a daunting and largely thankless task," said Mr. Bonner, a 28-year veteran of the agency.
Mr. Bonner said the FBI used to conduct background investigations on all Border Patrol applicants, but the job has since been turned over to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Currently, he said, some background checks are not being completed until the agents have been in the field for months.
"It's a two-minute phone call to verify whether the number (on the birth certificate) matches the name," Mr. Bonner said. "Any rookie who is trained in immigration law could have figured that out."
OPM officials in Washington referred inquiries on the background checks to a voice mailbox that was full. A second call was referred to an OPM office in Pennsylvania, where a spokeswoman directed further inquiries to the same voice mailbox.

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August 10, 2005, 01:20 PM
Perhaps an example of illegal aliens doing the jobs that Americans refuse to do? :banghead:

August 10, 2005, 01:47 PM
It appears La Mordida has crossed the border along with the illegals.

This is not exactly a surprise and is probably the tip of the iceberg in that and other agencies.

August 10, 2005, 01:50 PM
Doesn't say a whole lot good about the Border Patrol when [at least] one of their agents supposed to stop illegal immigration is an illegal immigant himself.


August 10, 2005, 01:50 PM
I'm glad we don't have to worry about this sort of thing with the people doing airport security. :rolleyes:

R.H. Lee
August 10, 2005, 01:57 PM
I don't see what difference it makes, it's not like there's any effort to secure the border anyway.

August 10, 2005, 08:26 PM
Kinda old news, at least a couple of weeks.

Read a little closer. It's an OPM problem, not a Border Patrol problem.

OPM is supposed to do the background investigation, but they failed in this case.

I've heard of another case where OPM figured out that the guy was illegal, but he didn't know it (parents were illegal and always told him he was a US Citizen) until he was told while in the BP Academy.

Standing Wolf
August 10, 2005, 11:01 PM
Borders? That's a chain of book shops, right? What's the big deal?

August 10, 2005, 11:09 PM
would only be funnier if he was from Iran and smuggling terrorists...

August 10, 2005, 11:41 PM
Wow man, they can't even keep the illegal immigrants out of their OWN FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ORGAINZATION!

What a bunch of idiots. :banghead:

August 11, 2005, 01:29 AM
Perhaps an example of illegal aliens doing the jobs that Americans refuse to do?

LOL Beautiful!

I would love to see the Minutemen capitalize on this BIGTIME.

August 11, 2005, 02:23 AM
They're about to do a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In this version you fall asleep and wake up as an illegal alien...

El Tejon
August 11, 2005, 08:21 AM
Isn't that movie "A Day Without a Mexican"? :D

Good thing the government is in charge, otherwise I'd worry. :D

August 11, 2005, 08:41 AM
Well if current trends in law enforcement are any indicator, you could wake up as an illegal someday. Maybe not an illegal alien, but definitely a felon of some sort.

August 11, 2005, 08:56 AM
A small tip on a very large iceberg.

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