A Los Angeles police officer was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday on charges of trying to smuggle an undocumented Mexican citizen into the U.S. in the trunk of a car.
Carlos Curiel Quezada Jr., a 10-year veteran of the LAPD attached to the Hollywood Division, and his girlfriend, Angelica Godinez, have each been charged with one count of bringing an undocumented immigrant without presentation, according to the Los Angeles Times, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Curiel Quezada, 34, and Godinez, 31, were pulled over on March 14 at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry near San Diego. The couple told the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers that they had nothing to declare, but they were directed to the intensive inspection area.
An X-ray scan of the Nissan that Quezada was driving "detected anomalies in the rear cargo area of the vehicle," according to a CBP statement.
Officers discovered 26-year-old Anastasio Pérez Avalos, a Mexican citizen without a visa to enter the U.S., in the compartment for the spare tire.
All three were taken into custody and Curiel Quezada’s bail was set at $20,000. They were immediately charged but those charges were "dismissed without prejudice" a week later, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego who spoke to the LA Weekly.
Curiel Quezada was has been on paid administrative leave as the department conducts an internal investigation. He is expected back in court for his arraignment on Thursday.
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