Border Agents Charged for Allegedly Feeding Suspected Drug Smugglers Their Own Marijuana

Two border agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allegedly forced four suspected Mexican drug smugglers to eat from their marijuana before stripping and releasing them into the cold desert.

A federal grand jury indicted Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, both from Maricopa, Ariz., on the top charge of Conspiracy to Deprive Persons of Civil Rights, Tampering with a Witness and three other charges.

On Nov. 12, 2008, the two agents were on duty and allegedly forced the Mexican nationals who were illegally in the U.S. to eat from the marijuana they were trying to smuggle into the country, according to a statement.

Castillo and Zugina allegedly forced the men to remove their shoes, socks and outerwear and instead of arresting them, set their belongings on fire and instructed the men to flee into the desert as temperatures sank to 40 degrees Fahrenheit with no shelter within miles, according to the statement.

A border patrol spokesman said the two agents were placed on administrative leave and declined further comment, Reuters reported.

An email from to the Department of Homeland Security was not immediately returned.

The agents face 30 years in prison and fines if convicted of the two top charges.