Two Texas DHS officials indicted for falsifying records

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 10, 2013 4:22 PM

By Jared Taylor

McAllen, Texas (Reuters) - Two agents with the Department of Homeland Security charged with rooting out corruption in other law enforcement agencies have been charged with faking records, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Eugenio Pedraza served as special agent in charge of the DHS's Office of Inspector General office in McAllen, Texas, where he was responsible for rooting out possible corruption in other area federal agencies that work along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection.

Pedraza and an agent that reported to him falsified records from seven investigations into Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents accused of accepting bribes to allow drug shipments and illegal immigrants through international ports of entry between 2009 and 2011, the indictment states.

The indictment alleges Pedraza, 49, covered up "severe lapses in DHS-OIG's investigative standards" ahead of an internal review of the McAllen office, the Justice Department said in its statement.

Also charged in the case is Special Agent Marco Rodriguez, 40, accused of following Pedraza's orders to falsify records in ongoing investigations. The indictment shows Rodriguez worked on two of seven cases identified in the indictment as containing false information.

Five other agents under Pedraza were assigned to other cases under scrutiny, but were not named in the indictment.

Pedraza was accused of directing his subordinates to draft and place backdated memos into investigative files showing progress in cases that never occurred, as well as records involving case reviews that were never performed.

Pedraza also is accused of failing to promptly notify the FBI that one of its agents was under investigation.

The Justice Department said Pedraza concocted the alleged scheme to make it appear to investigators reviewing his office that cases were being worked properly.

A third former DHS-OIG special agent, Wayne Ball, has already pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to falsify records in federal investigations. His sentencing is set for July 31.

The most severe charges alleged in the case carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count.

No court date has been set for Pedraza or Rodriguez. Federal court records show no defense attorneys for either defendant.

(Reporting by Jared Taylor; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Sofina Mirza-Reid)