Former Border Patrol agent caught for bribery, drug smuggling sentenced


A former Border Patrol agent who was caught smuggling drugs and money across the U.S.-Mexico border while he was being investigated for providing firearms to felons has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, according to the Justice Department.

U.S. District Judge James Soto sentenced Ramon Antonio Monreal-Rodriguez, 36, of Vail, to 152 months in prison and ordered him to pay $151,000 in restitution because he drew a federal salary while participating in three conspiracies in two federal criminal cases.

Monreal-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, and conspiracy to provide firearms to a convicted felon, according to the Justice Department.

“Most Border Patrol agents are excellent public servants who diligently interdict contraband like guns and drugs," U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in a prepared statement after the sentencing. "For those who aren’t and don’t, the Bureau of Prisons has plenty of room. Many thanks to our law enforcement partners on the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for their hard work in putting this case together.”

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tucson prosecuted the case.

The Justice Department said in the summer of 2018, Monreal-Rodriguez twice bought firearms from federally licensed dealers, but provided the weapons to felons prohibited from possessing guns.

He was being investigated for those crimes when the Justice Department learned Monreal-Rodriguez was working with drug smugglers to retrieve cocaine and marijuana in his service vehicle and drive them past a border checkpoint and into the Tucson area. He also transported cash back to the border to be smuggled into Mexico.

Monreal-Rodriguez told authorities he transported 116 kilograms of cocaine and 107 kilograms of marijuana this way.

The Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated the case. The SACTF includes members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility, Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility, the Tucson Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Former Border Patrol agent sentenced for bribery, drug smuggling