EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent from Arizona allegedly transported a shipment of narcotics across the state, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona announced Monday.
Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, of Buckeye, Ariz., faces multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. He served in the Tucson Sector’s Ajo Station.
FBI agents arrested Passapera at his home on Sunday, following a multi-agency investigation and operation led by the FBI.
He left his home in early hours of Aug. 9, and drove south to a remote area of the border west of the Lukeville Port of Entry, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release. He then drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where he allegedly loaded two duffel bags into another vehicle.
Investigators spotted the vehicle leaving the airport and stopped it. Agents said they found two duffle bags, which contained 21 kilos of cocaine, a kilo of heroin, a kilo of fentanyl, and 350,000 pills of fentanyl.
Later that day, agents executed a search warrant at Passapera’s home, where they found $329,000 in cash and an additional $40,000 in the vehicle he allegedly drove that morning.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release, convictions for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility participated in the investigation and the operation, which was led by the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, NATIVE Task Force in Sells, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“CBP does not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we cooperate fully with all criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel,” CBP said in a statement.