Customs and Border Protection Officer Arrested by Border Corruption Task Force Agents
|FBI San Diego September 10, 2012|
Daphne Hearn, Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego FBI Office, and Chris Maston, Director of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announce the arrest of CBP Officer Thomas Silva, age 33, a nine-year veteran with the CBP. Silva was arrested on Friday, September 7, 2012, at approximately 8:30 a.m., at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (SYPOE). Silva was taken into custody without incident by CBP and FBI agents assigned to the FBI Border Corruption Task Force (BCTF).
Silva was arrested pursuant to a federal arrest warrant based upon a complaint filed with the United States District Court, Southern District of California, case number 12MJ3305. The complaint charges Silva with wire fraud and concealing a person from arrest. The specific charges are Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1343, wire fraud; and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1071, concealing a person from arrest.
The charges in this matter emanate from a multi-agency investigation conducted by the BCTF. The BCTF investigation was initiated in November 2010, after the CBP detected irregularities with Silva’s work. Specifically, the CBP reported that Silva was allowing individuals with imposter immigration documents to pass through the SYPOE. Subsequent investigation by the BCTF revealed that Silva was involved in a variety of criminal activity, some of which related to his position as a CBP officer.
The complaint alleges that in April 2012, Silva knowingly allowed Julio Cesar Landaverde Valdez, a federal fugitive, to enter the United States from Mexico through the SYPOE. Landaverde Valdez was convicted in 2006 for alien smuggling. In this matter, Landaverde Valdez and an associate tried to enter the United States through the SYPOE with an undocumented alien concealed in a dashboard compartment of the vehicle. Landaverde Valdez is Silva’s brother-in-law.
The complaint also alleges that in 2011, Silva engaged in a scheme to defraud Farmers Insurance Company by filing a false claim concerning the theft of his personal vehicle. Silva was paid $7,329.37, as a result of this false claim.
Silva has been booked into the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and expected to have his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo, on Monday, September 10, 2012.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) from the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), Southern District of California, San Diego, California.
The BCTF is composed of the CBP-Internal Affairs, CBP-Field Operations, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), USAO, and the FBI.
An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendants committed crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.