New Campaign Enlists the Public’s Help
While the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers and public officials who work at the country’s ports and borders are honest and dedicated, even one corrupt official like Rodriguez can pose a serious threat to the nation’s security—because what if one of those individuals smuggled through a port of entry is a terrorist carrying a bomb?
For that reason, the FBI—in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security—is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of border corruption so that citizens and government employees who see corruption or suspicious activity will call the FBI to report it.
“Public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal priority,” said Sergio Galvan, chief of the Bureau’s Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It is critical for us to engage the public to help stop these crimes. We’re not expecting citizens to be detectives,” Galvan explained, “but if you see something that doesn’t seem right, report it. If you notice someone going through security without being searched, or if you work on the border and know someone in your agency that is looking the other way, call the FBI.”
Hector Rodriguez pleaded guilty to receiving bribes and bringing aliens into the country for financial gain.
In 2013 he was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for receiving thousands of dollars in cash, along with Rolex watches and an expensive vehicle, for looking the other way.
But public corruption on the border is by no means limited to the Southwest border.
The border awareness campaign will include publicity outreach efforts in 10 FBI field offices whose areas of responsibility include U.S. ports of entry such as border crossings, airports, and seaports. The cities are Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; Fargo, North Dakota; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; and Seattle, Washington.
“The point of our public awareness campaign is that we need your eyes and ears to help keep the country safe.”
Sergio Galvan, FBI Public Corruption Unit