SAN DIEGO—United States Border Patrol Agent Noe Lopez, was charged in a three count complaint with: (1) attempted distribution of 6 pounds of methamphetamine, (2) attempted distribution of 7 kilograms of cocaine, and (3) bribery. Agent Lopez made his first appearance in court today.
The complaint alleges that Agent Lopez, assigned to work at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station, described his ability to smuggle narcotics into the United States to a confidential informant. According to the complaint, Agent Lopez provided specific details about how he could smuggle narcotics into the United States from Mexico. Agent Lopez also agreed to pickup backpacks filled with narcotics while on duty and transport the narcotics to safe locations north of the international border. Agent Lopez offered these services for a fee.
The complaint further alleges that, while on duty, Agent Lopez attempted to distribute narcotics on two separate occasions. On December 6, 2016, Agent Lopez retrieved a backpack filled with what he believed to be 6 pounds of methamphetamine, and on December 8, 2016, Agent Lopez retrieved what he believed to be 7 kilograms of cocaine. On both occasions, Agent Lopez delivered the backpacks to pre-determined locations in San Diego and received a total of $10,000 in cash.
The complaint further alleges that Agent Lopez corruptly accepted bribes in exchange for assisting in the drug trafficking events and ignored his official duty to enforce narcotics laws. At his first appearance today, Agent Lopez was ordered to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt on December 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. for a detention hearing to determine whether Agent Lopez should remain in custody pending trial.
*The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Magistrate Case Number: 16MJ3837
Chula Vista, California
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Attempted Distribution of Narcotics – Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 841 and 846
Maximum penalty: Life in prison and/or $10,000,000 fine
Statutory mandatory minimum sentence: Ten years in prison
Bribery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 201(b)(2)
Maximum penalty: A fine of not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value received and/or not more than 15 years in prison
This case was investigated by the Border Corruption Task Force (BCTF). The BCTF is a multi-agency task force led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with the following partner agencies: the United States Border Patrol (USBP), United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP-OPR) and Office of Field Operations (CBP-OFO). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also contributed significantly to the investigation.