July 14, 2024
Industry News

Former U.S. Customs officer found guilty of allowing drug-laden vehicles to cross from Mexico

LOS ANGELES — A former U.S. Customs officer has been found guilty of receiving bribes to allow drug-filled vehicles into the United States from Mexico, giving traffickers a one-hour window to access his lane at a San Diego border crossing and earning at least $13,000 per vehicle, authorities announced Thursday.

Leonard Darnell George, who worked for two different criminal organizations, facilitated at least 19 illegal border crossings between late 2021 and June 2022. The vehicles contained large quantities of methamphetamine, as well as smaller amounts of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and undocumented individuals being smuggled into the country, according to court records.

Investigators obtained text messages showing George agreeing to allow vehicles to pass through in exchange for $17,000 per vehicle. One message revealed that he received $68,000 after enabling four vehicles from drug traffickers to cross the border in June 2022.

George’s lawyer, Antonio Yoon, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

A federal jury in U.S. District Court in San Diego convicted George on Monday of bribery, conspiracy to import controlled substances, and two counts of permitting unauthorized individuals to enter the country in vehicles.

“Sacrificing the integrity of one’s uniform for involvement in drug trafficking leads to criminal charges,” stated U.S. Attorney Tara K. McGrath.

Witnesses testified that George used the illicit funds to purchase vehicles, motorcycles, and jewelry, and indulged in extravagant spending at a Tijuana strip club.

George’s sentencing is scheduled for September 13, with potential penalties ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

FAQs

Q: How many illegal border crossings did Leonard Darnell George facilitate?

A: Leonard Darnell George facilitated at least 19 illegal border crossings between late 2021 and June 2022.

Q: What was the maximum penalty George faced for his charges?

A: The maximum penalty for George’s charges ranges from 10 years to life in prison.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Leonard Darnell George’s conviction highlights the serious consequences of corrupt practices within law enforcement. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the law and the integrity of public officials in safeguarding national security.

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