YUMA - The FBI says U.S. Border Patrol Agent Aaron Anaya was on duty, when fellow agents busted him with bundles of weed in his patrol truck.
It happened Sunday evening near the international border in a remote area between Yuma and Wellton.
According to a federal complaint, Anaya, an agent assigned to the Wellton station, loaded up several bundles of marijuana into his patrol truck. Three men dropped the bundles over the border fence from Mexico. The complaint says agents busted Anaya with nearly 150 pounds of pot in three black duffel bags.
The street value of the marijuana is estimated to be between $80,000 and $90,000.
The Feds are charging Anaya with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and carrying a firearm while committing the crime.
Aaron Anaya, 25, joined the Border Patrol back in 2010. He was stationed in Wellton and a multi-agency task force caught him loading 147-pounds of marijuana into his Border Patrol vehicle at the border fence.
Anaya is a federal agent sworn to keep drugs out of the country, apparently caught red-handed smuggling pot. We asked people in Yuma how they felt about it.
"First of all, I'm a taxpayer and I'm paying that bill. Two, they're supposed to be guarding the border," said Max Curiel.
"They're supposed to be honest. It doesn't make me feel that good. Honesty's the best policy," said Carlos Vazquez.
Honesty may be the best policy, but it's not the most lucrative. Based on public federal payscales, Anaya probably pulls down a base salary between $33,000 and $38,000 a year.
If each pound of marijuana is worth $600 on the street, Agent Anaya was attempting to smuggle more than $88,000 worth of pot into the country.
"I think everybody's open to temptation, but Border Patrol, I think they do a great job. There's always a bad apple that gets tempted. It happens."
It does happen.
According to Yuma Sector Border Patrol, in 2008, 21 current or former CBP employees were arrested or indicted on corruption charges. In 2009, the number increased to 29. The numbers dropped to 18 and 15 corruption cases in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
As the problem has grown, so has the size of the Office of Internal Affairs, from a staff size of 150 people in 2006 to 615 people today.
So what lies ahead for Agent Anaya? First of all, Border Patrol says employees charged with felonies are suspended from duty without pay until the criminal proceedings are complete. If convicted, they are fired.
We did a little checking to see what kinds of sentences convicted agents got for similar charges. In March of this year, former Yuma Border Patrol Agent Michael Angelo Atondo was sentenced to eight years in prison. Atondo was found guilty of smuggling more than 700 pounds of pot into the country. Incidentally, Atondo was also stationed out of Wellton.
Agent Anaya will still have his day in court, but even he may have his doubts about the outcome. Authorities say when confronted with the evidence, Anaya dropped the F-bomb and said, "you have it on video."
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
Investigators looking for Modesto Cortes-Serillo who's suspected of gunning down a man after an argument is believed to be hiding out in Mexico. According to the Yuma Police Department their investigationMore >>
Man accused of killing a man outside a Yuma restaurant reached to children for help; now brother and sister are in jail. More >>
Judge Jorge Lozano has just announced that he plans on running for Superior Court Judge; the 38 year old Justice of the Peace has been serving Somerton and San Luis for the past eight years and believesMore >>
South County Judge seeking a higher callingMore >>
Midnight last night was the last chance to vote for NASA's newest prototype: a spacesuit design that will eventually go to Mars. In 2012, NASA released the Z-1, which looks strikingly similar to BuzzMore >>
NASA asked the public for help in choosing their future space suit. More >>
YUMA, AZ (13 On Your Side) - Over the past month there have been a string of convenience store robberies around town. Most recently, one suspect - who police say - robbed three Circle Ks within 48 hours.More >>
Over the past month there have been a string of convenience store robberies around town.More >>
Yuma Police investigators have released more images of the man they believe is responsible for a string of robberies. According to YPD the man scene in these images robbed three convenient stores at gunMore >>
Police still need help finding man suspected of robbing three convenient stores at gun point.More >>
Wellton, Ariz. – Two separate exposure incidents have resulted in arrests in Wellton. Police say after a two week long covert investigation ending on July 28th, officers of the Wellton Police DepartmentMore >>
Two separate exposure incidents have resulted in arrests in Wellton. Police say after a two week long covert investigation ending on July 28th, officers of the Wellton Police Department were able to identify and locate a suspect they say had been exposing himself to people out walking for exercise in the early morning hours.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Yuma police say a dead woman was found in a car parked at Food City on 8th Street on Tuesday night, at around 6:20 p.m. Police are investigating her cause of death andMore >>
Yuma police are investigating the death of a woman who was found in a parked car Tuesday night.More >>