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Nogales customs officer charged with abusing K-9 partner

Published: Dec. 12, 2014 at 9:00 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:22 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Customs and Border Protection inspector is facing criminal charges of cruelty to his K-9 officer in relation to an incident caught on surveillance video.

The video shows an officer going about his duties with his assigned K-9 on Feb. 15, 2014 at the Mariposa Port of entry in Nogales. The dog is experienced and certified in narcotics detection.

Suddenly, the officer is seen apparently yanking the leash so hard it lifts the dog off its feet.

Three seconds later, seen from a different angle, it happens again. Only this time, the dog isn't just lifted into the air. It appears that the inspector deliberately slams the dog to the ground.

Officer Edgard Garcia faces two counts of cruelty to animals in Santa Cruz County.

One count is a misdemeanor and the other is a Class 6 felony.

A CBP official said they take this very seriously. The agency released the following statement on Friday, Dec. 12:

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Internal Affairs investigated [Edgard] Garcia, a Tucson Field Office CBP officer assigned to the Nogales Area Ports of Entry, for Cruelty to Animals which allegedly took place on Feb. 15, 2014.

"After the investigation was concluded, investigators brought their findings to the Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office, who accepted the case for prosecution. Garcia has been on paid administrative leave since Nov. 26, and subsequently will be placed in a non-pay status pending adjudication of his court case.

"CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission. We do not tolerate misconduct or abuse by any of our agents, officers and support personnel and will fully cooperate with all investigations of wrongdoing."

Garcia's next day in court is set for Dec. 17.

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