LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – A longtime Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was arrested Wednesday on accusations he helped smuggle a Mexican national with felony convictions into the United States.
The ICE agent was operating under the orders of a “local organized crime figure with business interests in Mexico,” the U.S. District Attorney’s Office reported Thursday.
Felix Cisneros, 42, of Murrieta, was taken into custody on federal felony charges of aiding and assisting an inadmissible alien to enter the United States.
According to the 32-page affidavit filed along with the criminal complaint alleges a local crime boss approached Cisneros in 2013 and asked him to help a Mexican citizen who was employed in his organization re-enter the U.S. following a trip to Mexico. The citizen was a former green card holder who had been barred from the U.S. due to felony convictions that included identity theft.
The crime figure asked Cisneros to help the foreign national obtain his passport, which had been seized several months prior, so he could cross the border to do business with a Mexican oil company.
The district attorney’s office did not name the crime figure or the Mexican citizen in question or say whether they were facing charges as well in the case.
The complaint alleges that Cisneros likely deceived U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers into returning the Mexican citizen his passport. Cisneros was eventually able to help bring the man into the U.S. through Los Angeles International Airport, the complaint stated. The man was then able to fly back and forth between Mexico City and Los Angeles.
In exchange for his help, Cisneros was give two tickets to a Los Angeles Dodgers playoff game, the affidavit states.
In 2016, the affidavit reads, the foreign national switched sides and became an informant for the U.S. government.
Cisneros, a 10-year ICE veteran, worked out of the Inland Empire office. He is being held on $30,000 bail. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.