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Ex-Border Patrol agent sentenced for helping drug traffickers

Ex-Border Patrol agent sentenced for helping drug traffickers

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A former Border Patrol agent was sentenced to six years in prison for helping drug traffickers transport marijuana, officials said.

U.S. District Judge James A. Soto sentenced Jose Antonio Yanez, 50, on Thursday. Yanez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, receiving a bribe, and importation of a schedule IV controlled substance, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Between 2014 and 2016, Yanez used his position as a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Douglas and in Naco to help drug traffickers transport thousands of kilograms of marijuana, the news release said.

He turned Border Patrol cameras away from an 18-person group of smugglers carrying marijuana, purposely left his patrol area so vehicles with narcotics could cross the border and provided sensitive law enforcement information to co-conspirators, all in exchange for money, the release said. Yanez admitted to accepting $16,000 in bribes.

Yanez also personally smuggled at least 160 alprazolam (benzodiazepine) and tramadol (narcotic pain reliever) pills into the U.S., the news release said.

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports

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