A federal judge sentenced a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employee to 20 years in federal prison Aug. 26 after she pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, alien smuggling and official corruption charges. Martha Alicia Garnica, 43, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones, who also ordered her to pay a $5,000 fine, and be placed under supervised release for four years after she completes her prison term.
Garnica, a former CBP technician and CBP officer, pleaded guilty May 14 to all of the charges returned by a federal grand jury on Feb. 3, including conspiring to import more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana into the United States, conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens, bribing a public official and importing a controlled substance. According to the indictment Garnica conspired with other to import marijuana into the U.S. and bribed fellow Border Patrol agents to overlook her smuggling, in addition to smuggling illegal alients into the U.S. from Mexico. Four other individuals working with Garnica were already convicted and given prison sentences from 2-to-5 years.
The sentence was the culmination of an investigation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and CBP Internal Affairs.