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Ex-US Customs Officer Found Guilty of Permitting Mexican Cars to Contain Drugs

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Los Angeles (AP) — Officials announced on Thursday that a former U.S. Customs officer had been found guilty of collecting bribes to allow drug-laden cars to enter the country from Mexico. At a border crossing in San Diego, Leonard Darnell George gave traffickers an hour to get into his lane in exchange for at least $13,000 per truck.

George, who was connected to two criminal groups, enabled at least 19 crossings between late 2021 and June 2022, according to the prosecution. According to court records, the trucks contained hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine along with smaller amounts of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, and unauthorized persons.

Text messages George promised to pay at the cost of $17,000 per vehicle were found by investigators. In one instance, George earned $68,000 for letting four vehicles pass through in June 2022.

Requests for comment from Antonio Yoon, George’s lawyer, have not received a response.

George was found guilty on Monday by a federal jury in U.S. District Court in San Diego of accepting bribes, conspiring to import controlled narcotics, and two counts of permitting the entry of an unregistered vehicle. Tara K. McGrath, the U.S. Attorney, stressed the serious consequences of sacrificing uniform integrity for narcotics trafficking.

According to testimony, George spent a lot of money at a Tijuana strip club and bought cars, motorcycles, jewelry, and other items with the bribe money.

September 13 is the scheduled day of sentencing, which carries sentences of 10 years to life in prison.

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