Hundreds of United States Border Agency employees have been arrested over the past two years. Over 500 employees of the border security agency have been charged with accepting bribes, trafficking drugs and a variety of other crimes, according to reports released on Oct. 12 by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility. These reports covered the years 2016 and 2017.
Customs and Border Protection employs more than 60,000 people and is the largest single law enforcement agency in the country. It operates on a budget of over $15 billion.
The reports showed that 109 employees in 2016 and 119 employees in 2017 faced arrests related to misconduct involving drugs or alcohol, making these type of arrests the most common.
The second most common types of arrests of border agency employees included domestic or family misconduct. The data shows 51 employee arrests in 2017, an increase from 44 arrests in 2016.
According to agency officials, the release of the annual reports shows the agency’s commitment to transparency and employee accountability to the law and internal policies. The reports also show that most of the employees perform their duties without infringing on law and agency policies.
“We are talking about a fraction of the organization,” said Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner for the Office of Professional Responsibility, in the New York Times.
Customs and Border Protection has faced accusations of using excessive force against individuals seeking to cross the border. According to reports, the agency opened 252 cases involving excessive use of force by border agents in 2017, a reduction from 338 cases in 2016. Twelve of these cases in 2017 resulted in the serious injury or death of a migrant, down from 23 in 2016.
The reports are released in the wake of several high-profile violent acts by Border Patrol agents this year.
In September, veteran Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz was charged with killing four women and assaulting another woman within a two-week period. The agent was arrested after fleeing state troopers at a Texas gas station.
“We consider this man to be a serial killer who was preying on one victim after another,” said Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar in the New York Times in response to Ortiz’s arrest. “Fortunately, he’s now been apprehended.”
In May, 19-year-old Claudia Patricia Gómez González, who had crossed the border illegally, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent. Authorities said the agent had been attacked by a group of people, including González, as he patrolled a residential area. However, one resident who witnessed the incident disputed the authorities’ account. Many are outraged over González’s death by the Border Patrol Agent.
“This is not the first person dying in the United States,” said Dominga Vicente, the aunt of the victim, at a news conference in Guatemala City.
The Border Patrol agent has been put on administrative leave pending investigations by the F.B.I. and Texas Rangers.
These cases occurred in 2018 and were not included in the reports.