Judge Orders Maximum Sentence For US Customs Officer In Smuggling Case

By Mónica Ortiz Uribe
September 09, 2016

A federal judge in El Paso ordered the maximum sentence on Friday for a U.S. customs officer convicted of immigrant smuggling.

In May, a jury found Lawrence Madrid, a former supervisor with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, guilty of allowing immigrants into the country illegally through an official port of entry in El Paso.

During a three day trial, witnesses testified they paid up to $2,500 for Madrid to allow them into the United States without the required documentation. Prosecutors said the crimes took place in 2010 and 2011 and involved Madrid's wife, Odet, who is currently a fugitive.

Defense attorney Robert Ramos told the court that Madrid only participated in the scheme to please his wife, who used the extra money to buy a red BMW.

"Madrid is not a bad man, he's a foolish man" Ramos said.

Judge David Briones ignored the defense's request for leniency and sentenced Madrid to 90 months in federal prison with three years probation. Briones told Ramos that Madrid was a disgrace to the uniform he once wore.