Dirty Money

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: They were in uniform, had their badges. Undercover FBI agents (search) running a drug sting, cracking a corruption conspiracy in Arizona where members of law enforcement and the U.S. military were allegedly taking bribes to look the other way as drug shipments crossed the border. So how much trouble are these guys in? Plenty, you can imagine.

FOX News' senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, joins us.

So, it's allegedly. They haven't been tried and so forth. But this is a sting. And they got caught.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS JUDICIAL ANALYST: But this is not a sting where police are walking through a park pretending to be drug dealers and trapping the unwary citizen. This is a sting where FBI agents were effectuating the sting against American soldiers, National Guard, INS (search), border security, Arizona state officials. People who are supposed to be stopping trucks from coming in were taking enormous bribes. In the case of two of them, $1.5 million each in cash, just to wave the trucks in and prevent co-workers, other police, from inspecting the trucks.

GIBSON: This included United States soldiers?

NAPOLITANO: This included United States soldiers. Sixteen of them have agreed to plea guilty, and to cooperate in testifying against others — as yet unknown — who also were ensnared by this.

GIBSON: So how many does this involved?

NAPOLITANO: We only know of the 16 who agreed to plead guilty Thursday. This involved over 18 — are you ready — $18 million worth of cocaine, which was just whisked through. It was whisked through with an FBI agent driving the truck. So this stuff didn't get on the streets. But the defendants thought it was getting on the streets. The defendants stopped other police from stopping these trucks. And the defendants accepted huge bribes for doing it.

GIBSON: Okay, this is the kind of scenario where Americans who think about this think this must be what's happening. How else would all the drugs get in here? They can't dig that many tunnels, they can't send that many mules across, they can't do all this stuff unless somebody is there waving them through on the take. Is this proof that is how this stuff gets in the country?

NAPOLITANO: Well, this is evidence that it's probably how it gets in. But the beauty of something like this is, it's a great deterrent to everybody who is in law enforcement, to report an offer of a bribe, not to accept it. Because that might not be a bad guy bribing you. That might be somebody who is going to lock you up.

GIBSON: By the way, is there something special that happens to somebody who is taking bribes and letting drugs in the country while in uniform?

NAPOLITANO: Yes. The punishment is the max. These guys are facing in the case of many of them, 15 years per conspiracy count. For every agreement they made.

GIBSON: Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge, thanks a lot.

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