A U.S. border inspector was charged Friday with taking more than $50,000 to wave drug-laden vehicles from Mexico through his lane.
Oscar Osbaldo Ortiz Martinez, a Customs and Border Protection officer since 2008, allegedly took $22,000 in June for allowing a Jeep Cherokee that he believed was carrying cocaine to pass through his booth at the border crossing in downtown Calexico, about 120 miles east of San Diego.
Ortiz, 30, took $30,000 for waving through a Ford Lobo he believed to be packed with drugs on Monday, according to the complaint. He was arrested Thursday after allegedly accepting the money from an informant in a Lucky's supermarket parking lot in neighboring El Centro.
Ortiz, of El Centro, was charged with bribery, conspiracy and attempting to import cocaine and methamphetamine. If convicted of any of those charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Victor Manuel Silva, 30, was charged with the same crimes for allegedly taking bribes to facilitate the crossings.
According to the complaint, Silva, also of El Centro, introduced the informant to Ortiz at an El Centro parking lot in October 2009.
Neither defendant had an attorney listed in court filings. They are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday to determine if they are eligible for bail.