By Rick Jervis
WASHINGTON – A rising number of U.S. border enforcement officers are being arrested on corruption charges as Mexican drug cartels look to bribes as a way to get around tougher enforcement, border officials say.
Investigators arrested 21 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on corruption charges in the fiscal year that ended last September, up from eight in the previous 12 months, according to CBP. This year, 14 have been arrested.
Since 2004, 84 officers have been arrested and 62 were convicted, says James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner for internal affairs at CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. That number represents a small fraction of the more than 52,000 people employed by the agency, which enforces U.S. law along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
Still, the trend is alarming, Tomsheck says. “We’re deeply concerned. The numbers are disturbing.”