13:21 GMT19 January 2021
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    A 10-year veteran of the US Border Patrol has been arrested on drug smuggling charges. The FBI says Ramon Antonio Monreal Rodriguez handed over $650,000 in exchange for 90 pounds of cocaine while on duty this year.

    Monreal is accused of conspiring with others to traffic drugs in Tucson, Arizona, and on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

    On September 18 in the early morning, Monreal took cocaine from smugglers at a border crossing into Mexico used by indigenous people on the reservation. He allegedly coughed up $334,000 for an initial portion of the cocaine, which he kept in his agency vehicle for the rest of his shift before giving it to another smuggler.

    Less than week later, Monreal handed off another $317,000.

    Monreal was paid with six pounds of drugs and another $66,000 in cash. The street value of the 90 pounds of cocaine is more than $7 million. 

    The agent resigned on September 25 prior to being arrested or charged with smuggling — but not before being arrested by the FBI in a different case, one in which he is accused of hiring two men to help him buy guns in Tucson.

    He was released from jail on October 23 after the firearms arrest but was picked up later in the day on the smuggling charges. Two days later, US Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro ordered Monreal held without bail.

    According to court records cited by Tucson.com, Monreal tried to have a corrections officer at a federal prison roughed up because he was dating Monreal's ex-girlfriend. He also asked a drug trafficker to make his ex "disappear." The trafficker apparently told him to wait a year before he would do it.


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    Mexico Border, smuggling, Drug war, Border Patrol
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