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Texas border agent accused of taking bribes extradited from Mexico

Texas border agent accused of taking bribes extradited from Mexico

MEXICO CITY — Mexico on Wednesday extradited a Texas U.S. Border Patrol agent who apparently fled south of the border after being accused of accepting bribes to allow drugs through a checkpoint.

Arturo Arzate Jr., a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was originally arrested in 2006 on charges of bribery, conspiracy and knowingly distributing a controlled substance.

He was placed on administrative leave from his post in El Paso County, Texas, but failed to appear for a hearing in January 2007.

In a statement, Mexico's federal Attorney General's office said Arzate was detained in August in Mexico and had been awaiting extradition ever since.

He was sent to western Texas, where he will appear before a federal judge, the statement said.

Arzate is accused of meeting with smugglers and taking payments of US$50 per kilogram of marijuana and US$1,000 per kilogram of cocaine that he allowed to pass. Arzate allegedly accepted US$16,000 in bribery payments during an investigation that began in 2005.

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