DOJ SEAL
U.S. DEPARTMENT of JUSTICE CONTACT US A-Z INDEX
About » Office Locations » Houston Division » Houston News
HOUSTON NEWS

CBP Officer Arrested for Allowing Drugs through Port of Entry

DEC 15 (BROWNSVILLE, Texas) - Jose Luis Zavala, a 38-year-old resident of Brownsville, has been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana and bribery of a public official, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Zavala has been employed for the past seven years as a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer assigned to the Brownsville field of operations. 

Zavala was arrested Friday afternoon and is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan at 10:00 this morning.

According to the charges, Zavala allowed vehicles loaded with marijuana to enter the United States from Mexico in exchange for money. On Nov. 19, 2014, Zavala was working the Gateway Port of Entry when a van attempted to enter the United States through the inspection lane manned by Zavala, according to the complaint. The driver presented a U.S. Passport and the van was randomly selected for an intensive inspection, a decision not made or controlled by Zavala. The driver then allegedly abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot to Mexico. The van was carrying 1362 Kilograms of marijuana that was not hidden or disguised as legitimate cargo, according to the allegations.

The investigation led to the discovery of text messages sent to Zavala’s personal cell phone that allegedly show the coordination of payment to Zavala for allowing shipments of marijuana to enter the country.

If convicted, Zavala faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug conspiracy as well as a maximum of 15 years for bribery.

The charges are the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Hagen is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

STAY CONNECTED

Receive E-mail Updates Receive E-mail Updates @DEAHQ Twitter Account button Hover @DEAHQ Twitter Account button Report Synthetic Drug Source button Hover Report Synthetic Drug Source button


Stay Connected Facebook Twitter YouTube

 

A-Z Index  Accessibility   Contact Us  Environmental Stewardship   FOIA  Legal Policies & Disclaimers  
No FEAR Act   Privacy Policy Plug-Ins USA.gov Whistleblower Protection