A new study from San Diego State University highlights the kinds of corruption facing Customs and Border Protection officers and agents. Corruption includes human and drug smuggling and bribes for up to millions of dollars.
Researchers at SDSU studied 160 cases where officers or agents were investigated, arrested, and convicted for different types of corruption cases.
SDSU Professor David Jancsics, Ph.D., spearheaded the research. His team found 71 percent of corruption cases had to do with drug trafficking and human smuggling.
They also found many bribery cases.
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“One example is of a CBP officer who received $5 million within five years,” said Dr. Jancsics.
The report suggests employees under the Security Department could have received up to $15 million in bribes, among other crimes.
“Using official credit cards for private purposes or having access to classified documents in the system,” he said.
The data is alarming to immigration activist Adriana Jasso who said the agency is already struggling with transparency.
“There is an issue of trust,” said Jasso with the American Friends Service Committee. “The community doesn’t see an agency that truly represents them or showing that they’re doing the best they can do.”
Dr. Jancsics said he does not believe the agency is corrupt. CBP has more than 60,000 employees, and the research focuses on 160 cases.
“I believe the vast majority are very good public servants defending the nation,” said Dr. Jancsics.
The research did find that agents or officers with less time in the agency could be more likely to commit a crime viewed as corrupt.
“The agency needs more resources to focus on the first few years,” said Dr. Jancsics.
These corruption case studies involved officers or agents located throughout the country.
NBC 7 reached out to Customs and Border Protection, and agents said they are looking into the study.