Customs agent arrested in border corruption probe

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A customs agent was arraigned Monday on corruption charges after being accused of allowing his brother-in-law — a convicted migrant smuggler — into the United States.

Thomas Silva, a nine-year veteran agent, let his brother-in-law, Julio Cesar Landaverde, drive through the San Ysidro crossing in April, despite knowing there was a warrant out for Landaverde's arrest, prosecutors said.

Landaverde remains a fugitive after being convicted for transporting illegal migrants, authorities said.

Neither Silva nor his lawyer could be immediately reached for comment after the hearing.

Silva was arrested Friday at the San Ysidro port of entry. He was arraigned in federal court on charges of concealing a person from arrest and wire fraud.

Prosecutors also claim Silva earned roughly $7,300 from a false insurance claim involving the theft of his personal vehicle.

Documents show the truck had been driven into Mexico about 10 days prior to the alleged theft and had not returned to the U.S.

The federal complaint also alleges Silva inflated the vehicle's purchase the claim.

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