Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Smuggling Drugs

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A former Border Patrol agent who helped smuggle two large duffel bags of cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin into the U.S. has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 56, was assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station when he retrieved 21 kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of fentanyl, and one kilogram of heroin from the desert in Arizona, using his Border Patrol vehicle. 

Passapera transported the drugs to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. 

“Defendant Passapera has betrayed his Border Patrol colleagues,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in a statement. “The Border Patrol has earned the trust of a grateful nation for its exemplary efforts to protect the border and to humanely process the migrants who come to America for a better life. Defendant’s actions threaten that trust, and violated his oath to faithfully discharge his duties as a law enforcement officer.”

Authorities found an additional $311,100 in cash in his safety deposit box. 

Passapera admitted accepting cash to smuggle drugs. 

“The citizens of Arizona are the true victims of this crime. Passapera was a trusted agent who took an oath to protect our border and keep drugs out. He broke that oath when he chose money over honor to transport and distribute drugs in this country,” Akil Davis, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office, said. “We hope this sentence demonstrates that corruption does not pay, and the FBI will continue to investigate and pursue those who abuse their positions.”

In connection to the case, two other people were sentenced to bribery of a public official. 

“A Border Patrol agent using his position to smuggle fentanyl and heroin into the United States is unconscionable” DHS Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari said. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that government officials who betray the people they are meant to protect are held accountable.”

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