Two reasons why our border security stinks

Arizona has the fine distinction of being the weakest link along the Mexican border.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

With agents like the two who were recently busted, it’s not hard to see why.

Two border employees were recently charged with accepting bribes to help drugs and illegal immigrants make their way from Mexico into the United States, according to news releases from the District of Arizona’s Office of the U.S. Attorney.

Former U.S. Border Patrol Agent Yamilkar Fierros, who was arrested Oct. 30, allegedly accepted bribes totaling $5,500 to help the drug trade thrive. A four-count federal indictment was unsealed the day he was arrested.

Fierros, from Tucson, reportedly accepted four separate bribes to give purported drug traffickers the following information and assistance:

* $1,000 for furnishing a law enforcement sensitive map of San Rafael Valley, which depicts road, trails, landmarks and terminology used by border patrol to track down drug traffickers on Sept. 30.

* $3,000 for giving out a list of 109 sensor location in and around Sonoita on Oct. 2

* $1,000 for handing over a list of yet more Sonoita sensor locations – 65 new ones – and

* $500 for agreeing to help sneak a load of narcotics from Patagonia to Tucson on Oct. 23

His $5,500 is a pretty paltry sum for a load of valuable information. The guy must not have been a business major.

On a scarier note, who knows how much farther all that information traveled. Maybe copies of the map and lists are hidden beneath rocks along the way.

Thanks, guy.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Another agent, a man from Yuma, recently pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to help smuggle illegal aliens into the country.

Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Jose Carmelo Magana was staffing a lane at the San Luis Port of Entry back in 2007 where he would reportedly not bother to perform proper inspections.

Ooops. Didn’t see that illegal hiding in the wheel well, sorry.

Magana admitted he was in cahoots with Brenda Covarrubias, Ana Bertha Calderon, Jesus Gastelum-Rodriguez, Guadalupe Milan de Gastelum, all of whom already pleaded guilty in this case to Conspiracy to Bring Illegal Aliens to the United States.

In addition to the bribe, Magana also said he got a portion of the smuggling fees charged by the smugglers.

We must thank this guy, too.

The maximum sentence for Attempting to Bring Illegal Aliens into the U.S. is 10 years in federal prison with a minimum mandatory penalty of three years in prison. It can also carry up to a $250,000 fine.

The bribery charges could cost each guy 15 years in the federal pen, a fine of $250,000, or both. Fierros faces four of those charges, which would make his maximum sentence, if convicted, 60 years and the maximum fine at $1 million. OK. But we have to wonder where he’d get the $1 million if he’s sitting around in prison.

Maybe he can rake in more bribe money.

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Is there any bribe large enough that would propel you into illegal action?

How can such actions be better prevented in the future?

Have you heard other unscrupulous border stories? Do tell.


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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28 Responses to Two reasons why our border security stinks

  1. leftfield says:

    This will go on as long as the war on drugs continues and as long as economic conditions push people to migrate.  There is too much money to be made supplying the American appetite for drugs.  Everybody has their price.

    • Rynski says:

      sigh. you’re right, leftfield. double sigh.

      • radmax says:

        Rynski, maybe you could research the comparison between strict drug enforcement countries and more lenient entities as to the propensity to fall into drug use at an early age, and it’s …never mind… 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        hahahha! last time you proposed such an insurmountable task, leftfield took the bait….lefty?

      • leftfield says:

        Believe it or not, sometimes I have to go out and make some money to buy feed for “The Girls” and this is one of those times.  So, I can’t give you any numbers right now.  I can tell you that prohibition is an interest of mine and I have previously looked into this.  What I have read is that drug use of all kinds, per capita, is lower (much lower) in The Netherlands than it is in the US.  And, of those who do smoke a bird from time to time, the age at which they begin to smoke that bird is much older than it is here. 

        No doubt the issue is much more complicated than just the differences in drug laws, though.

        Personally, I think we should pay to have the Dutch teach us how to run a decent society and import all the people from the Netherlands who are willing to come here.  Then, we could replace those missing Dutchmen and women with our angry, old white folk and they could go over there and irritate each other rather than putting sticks in the bicycle spokes of progress.

      • azmouse says:

        Didn’t Oprah have the people of the Netherlands on one of her shows? They are reported to be the happiest people in the world…although I recall thinking, after hearing some of them talk, that they seemed to live in ignorant bliss.

  2. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! “His $5,500 is a pretty paltry sum for a load of valuable information. The guy must not have been a business major.” Evidently.
    How the hell could you give up such important info about the security of our border, not to mention the countless lives the drug trade affects/ruins, so cheap! Must have been one cold hearted, indifferent SOB.

    • Rynski says:

      mornin radmax – i know! he could have made a much better deal, for sure. esp. since that $5,500 has already cost him his job and, if convicted, may cause him to pay an even heftier price.

      • radmax says:

        Hope he gets a hefty fine and plenty of time in the hoosegow.
        Guy sounds cheap enough to have been a fine politician, missed his calling…

      • azmouse says:

        Happy Tuesday kids!

        Seems people with no moral compass are easily bought, no matter the long term repercussions or shame to your loved ones. Seems to be something allot of criminals have in common.

      • radmax says:

        Hi az! The guy’s livelihood, freedom, likely family…lot on the line for half a cheap new car…
        Leftfield, I don’t know about you, but I would have reported threats immediately! These scum have ya by the ya-yas once you fall into their trap. Hopefully it’s not Medellin here yet…

  3. azmouse says:

    What a shame. I have a very dear friend who’s father is a retired border patrol agent. It breaks his heart to hear about this kind of thing when it happens. I guess like with any position of power (police, politicians, etc) there will always be those few shifty folks.

    • Rynski says:

      a cryin’ shame! i hate when a few shifty apples ruin the batch, too. when i was called for jury duty, there were a few border agents who got excused because the case at hand involved illegally selling drugs. while i did not talk to them, i could tell they were proud of their jobs and prob. did a good job.

  4. leftfield says:

    I don’t know if it applies in these particular cases, but often bribes are combined with threats of violence against the victim or their families.  The threat can be the real motivator, with the bribe making the victim complicit in the conspiracy. 

    Witness the periodic, but never-ending bribery scandals in Washington, DC.  Money is the singular golden idol in America.  It trumps everything else.

    • azmouse says:

      Good point leftfield…I didn’t think of it from that perspective.
      It would make it more forgivable if that ended up being a part of the scenario.

    • Rynski says:

      1. yuck on the threat of violence against the families accompanying the bribes. but then why bother with the bribes?
      2. money is so alluring to so many that it is sickening. the quest for more money, bigger homes, cooler cars takes over so many people’s lives that they lose all sense of anything other than greed. they thus work themselves into the ground, ignoring all else except that next purchase. no wonder so many folks are cranky.

      • leftfield says:

        The bribes serve to bring the victim into the conspiracy and insure future cooperation.  Once you’ve taken the money, you’re in; subject to prosecution with nowhere to turn.  Taking the money each successive time becomes easier and easier.

        As to your 2nd point, there is a name for this phenomenon: commodity fetishism.  Commodity fetishism is fundamental to the functioning of a capitalist society.  It not only helps solve the inherent problem of overproduction in capitalist economies, it also serves as a balm for the emptiness of the soul caused by our alientation under capitalism.  Like drugs, another balm for spiritual illness, commodity fetsihism never really fills the void.

        Who knew Uncle Karl would have something to say on this and who knew that I would be willing and able to share and enlighten?   

      • azmouse says:

        But capitalism rules!

      • Rynski says:

        thanks for input, lefty. very enlightening on both points and especially sad on the latter:
        “it also serves as a balm for the emptiness of the soul caused by our alienation under capitalism.”
        i agree that soul emptiness is a horrible phenomenon, but would think additional factors other than capitalism could also be to blame, no?

      • leftfield says:

        Oh no, Ryn.  I’m sure you’re aware that, given enough time, I could connect capitalism with acne.

      • Rynski says:

        alas, leftfield, you are correct. for a moment i forgot who i was talking to! haha.

  5. Amy says:

    Just more mexification of our country.

    • leftfield says:

      Somehow, I doubt adding chauvanism, intolerance and bigotry to the mix is going to help solve the problem.  Of course, if the people of Mexico weren’t holding a gun to our heads, forcing us to take drugs in huge quantities, that might help. 

      Seems to me more like the Americanization of Mexico than the Mexification of America. 

      • radmax says:

        I agree, seems the Mexican’s big business interests and criminals are picking up all our worst traits(greed, graft, indifference to humanity) very well.

  6. Dan Howard says:

    Awesome article. I linked it to my web site. Thanks!

  7. GAIL says:


  8. MInerva Lucas says:

    The agent Yamilkar Fierros’ brother  Said Fierros works for the nogales police department… someone must check that connection… yes the name is SAID  … S-a -i-d….

  9. Kastr0 says:

    Yamilkar is my friend..  Stereotyping F’s

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