Crime and Courts

CBP officer convicted of taking bribes to let drugs across US-Mexico border

The U.S. Attorney's Office estimates that Leonard Darnell George was paid between $300,000 and $400,000 during the time he worked with traffickers

NBC Universal, Inc.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was convicted in San Diego federal court this week of taking bribes to allow drug-laden vehicles across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Leonard Darnell George was charged last year along with several others with conspiring to bring drugs and undocumented migrants into the United States. A San Diego federal jury convicted George on Monday afternoon of four counts, including receiving bribes by a public official. He is set to be sentenced in September.

Prosecutors say that in late 2021, George was assigned to the primary inspection booth at the San Ysidro Port of Entry when he met two people who were part of a drug-trafficking organization.

Following that encounter, George began taking cash to let vehicles carrying drugs and migrants through when he was on duty, earning him the nickname "The Goalie" from traffickers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"The defendant intentionally failed to conduct proper inspections of these vehicles or request proper identification," prosecutors wrote in a trial brief.

The U.S. Attorney's Office estimates that George was paid between $300,000 and $400,000 during the time he worked with traffickers. Among the purchases George made with the bribe money include cars, motorcycles, and jewelry, prosecutors said.

Several co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty prior to George's trial.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been allowing vehicles loaded with drugs to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, federal prosecutors say. NBC 7's Jackie Crea reports on July 6, 2023.
Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us