Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

U.S. border officer accused of accepting bribes to allow illegal immigrants to cross border

An inspector for U.S. Customs and Border Protection was arrested on corruption conspiracy charges  Thursday, accused of accepting bribes in exchange for allowing vehicles filled with illegal immigrants and marijuana to pass through his inspection lanes at the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro border crossings, authorities said.

Lorne “Hammer” Jones, a 17-year veteran, received up to $20,000 for each vanload of illegal immigrants that passed through his lane without inspection, according to the criminal complaint unsealed Thursday. The number of loads was unspecified. Jones allegedly carried out the scheme from 2000 to 2009.

The investigation was built on the testimony of several witnesses who said Jones would alert smugglers of his lane assignments ahead of time so they knew where to cross. One witness allegedly made eight to 10 payments of about $10,000 each to Jones.

Jones was arrested Thursday while on duty at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The case is being handled by the FBI-led Border Corruption Task Force, based in San Diego, authorities said. 

It comes one week after another California inspector was charged with conspiring to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine through his inspection lane at Calexico, in Imperial County.

Both cases mark the latest examples of alleged corruption along the U.S.-Mexico border, where federal authorities are concerned that Mexican smuggling groups are increasingly trying to infiltrate the ranks of federal agents through bribery.

-- Richard Marosi in San Diego

Comments () | Archives (17)

Book um Danno

You really cant blame him...times are hard.

Thanks Mr. Jones for keeping us safe of these animals that think they can buy anything.....I have always had my suspicious about how is it that so many illegals and drugs come in with so many agents at the border.....

These corruptions are prevalent due to poverty, or not enough earnings to be able to fend the family.i just want to ask if its poverty one of the main reason for this. I only hear bribery and corruption happening in the third world country. US government have been trying all theie effort to stop illegal immigrants as they are the ones benefitting on all our taxes.

Interesting. Another citizen falls to greed conversley the "booty" gets the blame. We are our own worst enemy. Meg is toast!

I'm shocked!!! (or feigning shock)

Vote Yes on Prop 19 and take away some of the financial incentive for a porous border.

I don't understand how someone can throw 17 years of federal service down the crapper.

What a waste, Charlie Romeo. Looks like it's Hammer time in Club Fed.

Another one bites the dust! The cartels will find another rat!

Finally. Keep it coming...

I bet even a cursory investigation of these 'U.S. Customs and Border Protection' people would make the Bell saga look like a quilting bee.

How could this little clown operate for nine years[1] without co-workers or 'supervisory' personell noticing? It's impossible! He must have become extremely sloppy, and/or really cheesed someone off to get 'caught'


[1] Nine years, thats roughly 3, 285 days, or 469 weeks, or 108 months!

the DEATH penelty

Did they just wake up or what? This is nothing new. Corruption begins at the very highest office. The ballot booth, (voter fraud) US citizenship (counterfit documentation) lies lies and more lies. Stealing from the poor and protecting the rich. just a bunch of dirty laundry. Nothing new here.

...hell, we might as well give up!...greed is good mantra sounds good now!...we can't trust our politicians, our re-developement agencies, our police agencies...and we condemn the mexican government for corruption!...who is calling the kettle black ???....we are just as bad as a 3rd world country but more hypocritical....why vote???????

"i am shocked...shocked...to find gambling goin on here!"

The Border Corruption Task Force has a monumental job to do. Fortunately, I don't believe they have to catch everybody. Enough publicity of those that are caught should put the fear of God into everyone taking bribes and kickbacks.

Please keep up the report, let us know how prevalent this kind of corruption is.

Don't sympathize too much with this sorry excuse for border portection. They get paid quite nicely for their work. This was just pure greed. Maybe it's time to start x-raying every darn thing that comes into that crossing. Eliminate the guess work.

Thanks to him, over 9 years of letting illegal immigrants cross into the US and allow drugs to pass with ease. It’s because of him we are in this mess. Truck loads of immigrants and drugs, the easiest way to get across. Blame him for all this mess!


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: