Indictment Returned Against Cameron County Sheriff’s Deputy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 19, 2010|
BROWNSVILLE, TX—Cameron County Sheriff’s Deputy Jesus A. Longoria has been indicted on charges of bribery and smuggling goods from the U.S., United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Longoria, 31, of Brownsville, Texas, who was arrested on Nov. 1, 2010, following the filing of a criminal complaint, is and will remain in federal custody without bond per court order pending trial. It is anticipated that a date for his arraignment on the formal charges alleged in the indictment will be set by the court in the near future.
Local law enforcement officers work alongside federal authorities at the Ports of Entry in an effort to prevent the crossing of contraband and stolen goods from the United States into Mexico. According to the indictment, Longoria, a Cameron County Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Veterans’ and Gateway Ports of Entry, allegedly accepted payments from an undercover federal agent to allow firearms to pass through a federal inspection station.
On May 5, 2010, the indictment accuses Longoria of knowingly attempting to send or export from the U.S. merchandise, articles and objects contrary to the laws and regulation of the United States—that is, 13 semi-automatic firearms designated as defense articles on the United States Munitions list without having first obtained license for such export from the Department of State. The second count of the indictment accuses Longoria of bribery on March 24, 2010. That is, while employed as a deputy sheriff of Cameron County assigned to a federal inspection station, Longoria allegedly accepted money in exchange for facilitating the passage of a vehicle through a federal inspection station which contained semi-automatic firearms that were not lawful for export. The vehicles were intercepted before entering into Mexico and the weapons recovered.
Bribery of a public official carries a maximum penalty of $250,000 and 15 years' imprisonment and may disqualify a person from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States. Smuggling goods from the United States carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, and the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hagen is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.