Guilty verdict in Border Patrol smuggling case

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A federal jury in San Diego has convicted two former Border Patrol agents of human smuggling in one of the highest-profile corruption cases in the last decade.

Raul and Fidel Villarreal (VEE'-uh-ray-AL) were found guilty Friday of conspiracy to bring in illegal immigrants for financial gain and other counts.

Raul Villarreal was long a public face of the Border Patrol who frequently appeared on television as an agency spokesman.

Prosecutors say he started a smuggling ring that brought Mexicans and Brazilians to the U.S. illegally in Border Patrol vehicles and made his older brother and fellow agent Fidel one of his first recruits.

Prosecutors say the brothers abruptly quit the Border Patrol in June 2006 after being tipped they were under investigation. They were arrested in Tijuana in 2008.

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