Extent of Corruption and Other Criminal Misconduct in Customs and Border Patrol, Part 2

This is a follow up to a previous post (Extent of Corruption and Other Criminal Misconduct in Customs and Border Patrol) with some additional information as of May, 2012.

There are also reports that one office (McAllen, Texas) is so corrupt that it might be closed and its few honest agents reassigned elsewhere.

A grand jury is expanding its scope to cover the Dallas office.

It’s so bad that even three investigators have been suspended and/or reassigned.

As of mid-May 370 corruption investigations were being transferred from the IG to internal affairs units.  The IG appears to be retaining control of another 390 investigations.

Center for Investigative Reporting:  Homeland security watchdog may close troubled Texas office (May 17 2012)

The Homeland Security Department’s beleaguered watchdog might close a troubled Texas office amid a federal probe into its agents’ investigative practices, the Center for Investigative Reporting has learned.

Acting Inspector General Charles K. Edwards last week placed on administrative leave five more agents from the agency’s McAllen, Texas, branch office, leaving it with just four investigators. That office has been a focus of a federal grand jury probe into allegations that agents were told to fabricate investigative reports ahead of an internal inspection last fall.

More than half of the office’s 11 agents are off the job. The inspector general already placed the McAllen office’s top agent, Gene Pedraza, on administrative leave earlier this year. The remaining four agents may be moved to other offices.

The agency’s current top investigator, Thomas M. Frost, and a deputy, John Ryan, were put on leave in late March. Frost could not be reached for comment. Ryan’s attorney, Michael Bopp, has declined to comment.

Wayne Salzgaber, another deputy who oversaw field operations, was reassigned recently after he testified before the grand jury. A third deputy, James Gaughran, who had been acting as the assistant inspector general for investigations in place of Frost, will be replaced by Dupuy.

The inspector general is the top authority to police waste, fraud and abuse within the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government’s third-largest agency. The watchdog has about 219 agents to ferret out misconduct among the department’s 225,000 employees.

Last week, the agency also began to transfer about 370 corruption investigations nationwide targeting Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees. Those cases were transferred to those agencies’ respective internal affairs units. The transfer amounts to nearly half of the inspector general’s 760 cases that involve employees who have been identified, rather than allegations against unnamed employees. The inspector general has said he hopes the transfer is done by June 1

Center for Investigative Reporting:  Homeland security office to unload hundreds of corruption probes (May 7 2012)

Facing an overwhelming backlog of corruption probes, the Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog agency will unload almost half of its investigations of employees suspected of wrongdoing, officials said last week.

The department’s acting inspector general, Charles K. Edwards, said he will transfer control of approximately 360 corruption and misconduct cases against employees at two agencies – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection. Internal affairs offices at the agencies will instead handle the investigations.

Edwards said in a statement that the transfer was part of his office’s commitment to ensure “that all allegations of employee corruption are fully investigated.”

Overall, the inspector general had 2,564 open investigations as of Sept. 30, 2011, the end of the last fiscal year, up by nearly a quarter compared to the year before. The watchdog has 219 investigators, of whom just fewer than 200 are stationed in 33 offices nationwide.

Center for Investigative Reporting:  Homeland security office accused of faking reports on internal investigations (April 6 2012)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog agency is in turmoil amid allegations that its agents in Texas were told to falsify reports ahead of an office inspection last fall, according to an internal e-mail and interviews.

Thomas M. Frost, the department’s chief investigator, and deputy John Ryan were placed on administrative leave March 29, according to the e-mail sent to managers nationwide last week.

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One Response to Extent of Corruption and Other Criminal Misconduct in Customs and Border Patrol, Part 2

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