Feds Charge Border Patrol Agent With Using Underground Room To Hide Illegal Imigrants And Drugs

San Diego, CA 1/13/2011 10:48 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Federal authorities searching the California home of a U.S. Border Patrol agent this week, found an underground room that they believe was built and used to hide narcotics and illegal immigrants, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday at a court hearing in San Diego.

U.S. Border Patrol agent, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, a four veteran of the agency, was arrested and charged with harboring illegal immigrants at his home, among them his father, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a criminal record.

An FBI SWAT team led a law enforcement raiding party that discovered the secret room beneath a concrete slab in the backyard patio, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Tara McGrath. A search of the room turned up an illegal immigrant hiding under a table, McGrath said. Agents also found 61 grams of methamphetamine, along with other drug paraphernalia and narcotics packaging materials in the home, she added.

Agent Manzano Jr., was arrested Monday night at the Imperial Beach U.S. Border Patrol station. Prosecutors at Manzano's bond hearing indicated that he traveled to Mexico several times a month to visit his girlfriend and family members, and urged a U.S. Magistrate to bar any foreign travel if Manzano was able to make bond, which was set at $75,000.

The agent’s father, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr., 46, had allegedly lived at his son’s home in the border community of San Ysidro since 2009 and had been deported in 2008 after being convicted of possession of marijuana for sale. Manzano Jr. is also charged with lying to a federal investigator for allegedly stating that he didn’t know of his father’s whereabouts.


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