Former Immigration Officer Charged With Threatening Deportation
Bedri Kulla, a former INS agent for Citizenship and Immigration Services in Durham County, North Carolina pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a young immigrant woman.
Kulla plead guilty to threatening Salvadoran immigrant Xiomara Blanco, 23, with deportation if she did not spend the night with him and/or become his girlfriend.
According to court documents, Kulla contacted Blanco through a Univision.com social networking site in January 2009 and began attempts to make her his girlfriend. He sent text and e-mail messages to Blanco asking to meet up. Messages like April 3rd’s “Contact me or I will send immigration to your work” sent Blanco to meet up with Kulla at a mall. After, Kulla began demanding that she date him and spend the night with him, according to an affidavit written by Special Agent James Panos, an internal investigator with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. After the victim declined his advances, Kulla began sending threatening messages.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice says Kulla sent the following email to the victim:
“Immigration has all your information now. It does not mean that they will come today but one day they will come and you will be send [sic] back to your county deported. Take this serious and call me if you do not want that this happens [sic] to you.”
Court documents also say that the day Kulla was arrested, he admitted to meeting the Blanco online and told authorities he sent the victim messages threatening her with deportation to “scare, to intimidate, and to coerce her into responding to his messages seeking a meeting with her”. He also admitted he contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in retaliation.
Kulla was initially arrested on July 14th, and said the blackmail charges were mere allegations and said,” the truth will come out.”
12 months in jail is the maximum sentence for a civil rights violation, followed by 12 months of supervised release.