Border Inspector "Hammer" Charged With Bribery

By Michelle Wayland
|  Friday, Oct 1, 2010  |  Updated 11:40 AM PDT
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A San Diego border inspector, known as “Hammer,” has been charged with bribery, smuggling illegal immigrants and helping smuggle nearly five tons of marijuana, according to federal prosecutors.

Lorne “Hammer” Jones, 46, from Chula Vista was arrested Thursday while working at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing. His alleged crimes span a decade, according to court documents.

A Special Agent was contacted by a witness who later produced a photograph of Lorne Leslie Jones and Jones’ ex-wife allowing illegal immigrants and marijuana into the United States in return for monetary bribes, according to court documents.

“Various witnesses were interviewed and they detailed a process in which aliens in Tijuana (including some Brazilians) paid smuggling fees to members of the organization who had a code system in place to determine the date, time and lane number that Jones was assigned,” according to a statement from Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Brian Dennison.

Jones would allegedly allow illegal immigrants and marijuana through his lane without inspection. Prosecutors say he aided in smuggling more than 9,300 pounds of marijuana.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was assigned to San Diego's San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings across from Tijuana, Mexico.

Jones faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years if convicted on the drug charge and five years if convicted on a charge of bribery and immigrant smuggling.

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