Former Arizona Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to Almost 13 Years for Firearm Distribution and Smuggling Narcotics

The Arizona District of the Department of Justice revealed Tuesday that a former border patrol agent, Ramon Monreal-Rodriguez, 36, of Vail, Arizona, will be placed behind bars for almost 13 years for his role in two federal criminal cases.

“The men and women of the United States Border Patrol safeguard our frontier with compassion and dignity,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “Most Border Patrol Agents are excellent public servants who diligently interdict contraband like guns and drugs. For those who aren’t and don’t, the Bureau of Prisons has plenty of room.”

According to the DOJ, Monreal-Rodriguez’s misdeeds began in 2018, when he used his U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) resources to help a drug trafficking organization get narcotics over the border. From January to September, he reportedly used his USPB vehicle to meet with smugglers in Mexico, then drive illicit drugs over the border for distribution in Tucson. Using this method, the DOJ states that Monreal-Rodriguez was able to get 116 kilograms of cocaine and 107 kilograms of marijuana into the country for distribution.

During his time smuggling, he received at least $1.2 million in narcotics sale proceeds, which he would then smuggle back to Mexico, again using his USPB vehicle. Monreal-Rodriguez received cash payments for his help in the narcotics conspiracy.

Furthermore, Monreal-Rodriguez was also involved in a firearms scandal. Between July and August of 2018, he illegally purchased multiple firearms from licensed dealers on behalf of other individuals. He would then provide those weapons to felons prohibited from possessing firearms.

Monreal-Rodriguez was arrested on September 25th, 2018, and has since pleaded guilty to four criminal charges, including bribery. On top of the 12 years in prison, Monreal-Rodriguez was also fined $151,000 in restitution to the USPB for drawing a salary while engaging in criminal activity.

The Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated this case.

Moreover, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must keep a report of the number of employees arrested for various crimes. In the Fiscal Year 2022, 221 CBP employees were arrested, but for context, the organization employed 63,938 individuals during the year. Less than one percent of CBP staff were arrested during the year.

The CBP also keeps track of the reason for arrest, and in 2022, the most common issue was alcohol or drug violations, such as driving under the influence. These violations accounted for 98 of those incarcerated. Some arrests were made for smaller crimes, such as minor offenses and traffic misconduct, but more serious crimes were committed, such as crimes against children, violent crimes, and corruption. However, these only accounted for a combined 15 arrests.

Furthermore, as reported by Fox News, Border Patrol agents in Arizona remain dedicated to protecting the state. On December 13th, two U.S. citizens aged 14 and 15 were stopped and arrested near Benson, Arizona. An agent from the Willcox station stopped the vehicle and discovered five smuggled migrants inside. John Modlin, Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson Sector, said this was another example of human smugglers targeting American teenagers to carry out their dirty work.

Moreover, smuggled firearms remain an issue for sections of the southern border. Nogales Port of Entry Director Michael Humphries shared Monday that a car attempting to enter Mexico contained five assault rifles and a handgun. He stated that some of the weapons had their serial numbers destroyed and were likely destined for crime organizations had they not been confiscated.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].




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