Two Former Department of Homeland Security Special Agents Indicted on Records Falsification Scheme
Two former Department of Homeland Security special agents have been indicted for their roles in a scheme to falsify records.
The duo was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brownsville on Monday.
Eugenio Pedraza of McAllen has been charged with six counts of falsification of records in federal investigations, five counts of obstructing an agency proceeding, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of conspiracy.
Marco Rodriguez of Mission has also been charged with two counts of falsification of records in federal investigations, two counts of obstructing an agency proceeding, and one count of conspiracy.
The 49-year-old Pedraza was in charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General field office in McAllen, and the 40-year-old Rodriguez was a special agent stationed there.
DHS-OIG has the responsibility of investigating alleged criminal activity by DHS employees, including corruption affecting the integrity of U.S. borders.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Pedraza is believed to have directed Rodriguez and other DHS-OIG employees to falsify documents in open criminal investigative case files, including numerous investigations in which DHS employees were suspected of participating in the smuggling of undocumented aliens and narcotics into the United States.
The Department of Justice alleges that Pedraza had other employees create backdated memoranda of activity that reflected investigated activity by agents that had not occurred, filed false case reviews, and backdated unsent letters purported to inform the FBI of the opening of a DHS-OIG investigation.
According to the indictment, the scheme’s purpose was to conceal Pedraza’s failure to ensure that investigations were being conducted promptly and thoroughly, his failure to provide other employees with adequate training and supervision, and his failure to ensure that the FBI was being notified of investigations in a timely manner.
Another former DHS-OIG special agent pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in January of this year to one count of a conspiracy to falsify records in federal investigations and to obstruct an agency proceeding for his participation in the scheme.
Each charge of falsification of records in federal investigations carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of obstructing an agency proceeding carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the charge of obstruction of justice carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the charge of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000.