Ex-CBP officer pleads guilty to federal bribery charge

McALLEN — A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of bribery of a public official, according to court records.

Jose Javier Gonzalez, 37, pleaded guilty to one federal bribery charge; in exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining federal computer fraud charges he was facing, according to the plea agreement.

Gonzalez, a former CBP officer working in the Rio Grande Valley, was arrested and charged in connection with federal computer fraud charges last May, court records show.

The former federal officer was facing five counts of fraud activity connected with computers, which stems from his alleged role in accessing and obtaining information on five different federal employees from the DHS and the FBI. This allegedly occurred from July 2015 to November 2016, according to the indictment against him.

“(Gonzalez) intentionally exceeded authorized access to a computer, and thereby obtained information from a department or agency of the United States,” the indictment reads. It adds that the information and records obtained were related to an individual and came from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

The Mission man had been free on a $30,000 bond since May 2017 pending pre-trial proceedings but was remanded into custody in January after he failed a drug test, records show.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane revoked Gonzalez’s bond and remanded him to the custody of the U.S. Marshals after a drug test revealed that Gonzalez had tested positive for cocaine, court records show.

On Jan. 8, Crane had approved a requested modification to Gonzalez’s bond release conditions, allowing him to travel outside the Southern District of Texas for employment. Just eight days later, however, U.S. Marshals arrested Gonzalez for the bond violation.

In Gonzalez’s plea agreement, he admits that from July 11 to July 12, 2014, he granted an arrival/departure form to an unnamed person in exchange for $500, the court record shows.

The form Gonzalez admitted to granting was the I-94, known as the arrival/departure record, and is issued by CBP officers to foreign visitors entering the U.S.

Gonzalez, who is expected back in court for sentencing May 8, faces up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.