TUCSON, Ariz. - On Feb. 13, Jose Antonio Yanez, 50, of Pirtleville, Ariz., was sentenced to 72 months in prison by United States District Judge James A. Soto. Yanez had previously pleaded guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Receiving a Bribe, and Importation of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance.
Yanez was also ordered to pay $340,434 in restitution to United States Border Patrol, for salary he received while he was involved in the conspiracy.
From 2014 to 2016, while working as a United States Border Patrol Agent at the Douglas and Naco stations, Yanez used his position to assist drug traffickers to transport thousands of kilograms of marijuana. Among other acts, Yanez turned Border Patrol cameras away from an 18-person group of smugglers carrying marijuana in large backpacks, purposely left his area of responsibility so that vehicles containing more than 4,100 kilograms of narcotics could cross the border, and provided law enforcement sensitive materials and information to co-conspirators, all in exchange for money. Yanez admitted to accepting more than $16,000 in bribes during the conspiracy. Further, Yanez personally smuggled at least 160 alprazolam and tramadol pills into the United States from Mexico to distribute to another person.
“It is a unique affront to our system of justice when people like Yanez breach the trust placed in them by our communities,” said United States Attorney Michael Bailey, “and we have established a new Public Integrity section in our office to vigorously pursue matters like this.”