Thursday, June 3, 2010

Border Patrol agent pleads guilty to civil rights violation

TUSCON - U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Moreno pleaded guilty today in federal court here to a federal criminal civil rights charge for assaulting a Mexican national who was in his custody. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 12.

The incident occurred on May 10, 2006 while Moreno was on duty at the U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center in Nogales, Arizona. During the plea proceedings and in documents filed in court, Moreno admitted that while escorting the victim at the center, he kicked, struck him in the stomach with a baton, threw him down to ground and punched him; all without any legitimate law enforcement reason to use force.

"We place a great deal of trust in federal law enforcement officers, and the Civil Rights Division will aggressively prosecute any officer who violates the rights of others and abuses the power they are given to perform their critical duties," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.

Moreno faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. An additional count in the indictment of making a false statement to federal agents will be dismissed under the plea agreement.

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