Press Release: Newly Obtained Records: 210 CBP Employees Arrested for Corruption-Related Charges Since 2004

13 Arrested Since Beginning of Trump Administration

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April 23, 2018

According to new documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight through the Freedom of Information Act, 210 employees at Customs and Border Protection were arrested from October 2004 through March 2018 on charges related to corruption.

The data shows the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest law enforcement agency has a major, longstanding internal corruption issue. President Trump’s executive order last year calling for the rapid hiring of thousands of additional CBP employees could exacerbate the challenge, according to congressional testimony by then-DHS Inspector General John Roth last fall.

From the start of the Trump administration through mid-March 2018, 13 CBP employees were arrested on corruption-related charges, according to the internal CBP document POGO obtained, called "Corruption-Related Case Tracking.” The charges include drug smuggling, bribery, theft, and sharing of top-secret government data. Out of the 210 employees arrested since 2004, 127 are CBP Office of Field Operations officers, most of whom work in ports of entry, including international airports; 80 are Border Patrol agents, predominantly concentrated on the southern border; and three work elsewhere in the agency.

President Trump signed an executive order on January 25, 2018, which called for hiring 5,000 new Border Patrol agents. CPB has begun searching for contractors to help with the hiring process.

POGO’s analysis, including comments from a former CBP chief of internal affairs and from CBP, can be found here. Many experts, including insiders, say corruption extends far beyond cases that have led to arrests and criminal charges.

“Without appropriate oversight, corruption can—and will—spread like a disease, even within law enforcement,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “The danger of corruption is significantly increased as the president pushes to quickly hire new agents to beef up security at the border. Homeland Security must do everything in its power to raise, not lower, its standards in the rush to hire.”

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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