Secret underground room at Border Patrol agent's home may have hidden illegal immigrants
An investigation is continuing in the case of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who allegedly had a secret underground room at his home authorities believe was built to hide drugs and illegal immigrants.
Federal prosecutors laid out their case against the agent in court Wednesday.
Authorities found the hidden room beneath a concrete slab in the backyard patio, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Tara McGrath. When federal agents the room, they found an illegal immigrant hiding under a table, McGrath said. Agents also found 61 grams of methamphetamine, along with drug paraphernalia and narcotics packaging materials in the home, she said.
The agent, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested earlier this week and charged with harboring illegal immigrants at his home, among them his father, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a criminal record.
Manzano Jr., who was arrested Monday night at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol station, travels regularly to Mexico to visit his girlfriend and family members, said McGrath, who urged the judge to bar any foreign travel if he posted bond, which was set at $75,000.
The agent’s father, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr., 46, had allegedly lived at his son’s home in the border community of San Ysidro since September 2009. He had been deported in 2008 after being convicted of possession of marijuana for sale. Manzano Jr. also is accused of lying to a federal investigator, allegedly stating that he didn’t know his father’s whereabouts.
Manzano Sr. was not found at the home and remains at large.
-- Richard Marosi in San Diego
Photo: FBI outside agent's house. Credit: Fox 5 San Diego