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Mexican national pleads guilty to bribing former Border Patrol agent in smuggling scheme

A Mexican national charged with bribing a Border Patrol agent to smuggle people across the U.S.-Mexico border has pleaded guilty. The case is connected to a larger, ongoing one centered on the Border Patrol agent’s actions.

Prosecutors allege Luis Alfredo Quintero-Gonzales paid former Border Patrol agent Carlos Victor Passapera Pinottsome $64,000 to transport at least eight undocumented people to Phoenix from the border city of Lukeville in 2019.

Quintero-Gonzales pleaded guilty this month to conspiracy to commit bribery and people smuggling. He’ll be sentenced in October and faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Passapera was charged separately has pleaded not guilty to his role in the scheme. The count is one of several bribery, drug and people smuggling charges the former agent faces. He won’t stand trial until next spring.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.