Customs Officer Charged With Assisting Illegal Immigrants Across Border

A border protection officer was charged with letting cars carrying illegal immigrants pass freely through his inspection lane in exchange for thousands of dollars.

The arrest of Customs and Border Protection Officer Michael Anthony Gilliland came days after police working with a multi-agency task force pulled over a Lincoln Navigator that had driven through Gilliland's lane and found 10 illegal immigrants inside, including the driver, according to an FBI affidavit.

Wiretaps captured Gilliland, 44, and at least two women discussing when smugglers' vehicles could cross, according to the affidavit filed by agent Terry C. Reed, Jr. Undercover agents also watched Gilliland leave one of the women's homes with a plastic bag they suspected contained cash, the document said.

Gilliland was charged Wednesday and held without bail pending a hearing Friday. He worked the graveyard shift at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, southeast of downtown San Diego.