The bribes are taking place along the border between Arizona and Mexico. John Ladd owns 14,000 acres of land along the border line that has become more valuable besides ranching cattle. It is valuable land that is a highway for millions of illegal people to cross into America. For Mexico’s illegal immigrants and drug cartels, his land is a gateway to America. Crossing his land is only a 3 mile walk to the highway and they are soon on a ride to anywhere in America.
Five generations of Ladd’s have lived there. In 1894 the family arrived in Arizona in their covered wagons. Now, more than a century later John watches from his kitchen window people walking across his land to the highway. They are undeterred by the high border fences and government surveillance cameras. Especially undeterred by the border agents in their SUV’s riding along the fences. Many of them have been bribed to look the other way.
John believes that about 500,000 people have been caught crossing his land. In the past few years the number of Mexicans and people from other nationalities caught on his property is down but he says there is more illegal traffic coming onto his land in trucks. They wire cut the top of the fence and set ramps over the fence and just drive over the fence with their cars filled with drugs. Sometimes he wakes up to see a car stuck on top of the fence in the morning because it slid off the ramp.
The drug cartels are in control of the Mexican side of the border. The American border control agents are taking bribes on this side of the fence to do nothing to stop the traffic. Ladd does not see any chasing and little deterrent of the movement of people and drugs on his land. He doesn’t even feel safe on his property. There is so much money involved in the people trade and the drug trade that it is impossible to stop it from all happening. The bribe money alone is a large amount of money.
More than 40,000 custom agents and patrol officers guard our nation’s borders and the vast majority are honest but the drug cartels are using cold war tactics. They are using money, sex and drugs to convince officers to work with them to help get their products across the border to our country. The FBI has a task force to help root out corruption. In 2007 there were only 6 border task forces; today there are 24.
In San Ysidro California at the U.S. Mexico border lies the largest land port of entry in the world. It processes 110,000 people a day. There have been more than just a few bad officers. A new report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General lists 358 convictions of Customs and Border Protection Employees since 2004. Complaints of misconduct are up 77%.
The case of Michael Anthony Gilliland who was convicted in 2006 was outrageous. He was a Senior Agent who taught all the new people. At the port of entry he was found to be passing many loads of cars and trucks filled with illegal people. He pled guilty to taking $120,000 in bribes to let people into this country illegally. Many people pay these officers 5 to $8,000 per person to be let into the country.
These officers make about $60,000 per year in salary and was bringing home an additional $30,000 per truck or car. Searches of the officers homes found bags of cash everywhere in their homes. The Agency is now taking increased checks to watch our own border patrol agents. They are now required to take lie detector tests but only once upon hiring. Really? Is that all?