Man pleads guilty to bribing Arizona border agent in smuggling conspiracy
PHOENIX — A man involved in smuggling migrants from Mexico into the United States pleaded guilty for bribing a border patrol agent in early October, authorities said Friday.
Omar Natalio Martinez Fontes, 51, paid former agent Carlos Passaperea approximately $104,000 for assistance with picking up migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border near Lukeville, according to court documents.
After receiving communication from Fontes, Passapera would pick up the migrants and smuggle them through checkpoints before dropping them off to locations within the Phoenix area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona said in a press release.
At least 13 migrants were smuggled into the country throughout the conspiracy, the release said.
Another coordinator involved in the smuggling conspiracy, Luis Alfredo Quintero-Gonzalez, previously pleaded guilty in the case.
Fontes and Quintero-Gonzalez will be sentenced in December, while Passapera will head to trial April 23.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General.