TUCSON, Ariz. – On March 17, 2017, Juan Ramon Pimentel, 48, of Rio Rico, Ariz., was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Raner Collins to 160 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Pimentel had previously pleaded guilty to attempted possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms of cocaine and accepting bribes as a public official.
“Law enforcement officers take an oath to enforce the law, and Mr. Pimentel repeatedly violated that oath by taking bribes and trafficking drugs across the country,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange. “Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute any official who crosses the line to engage in criminal acts.”
The drug charges stem from a traffic stop on Nov. 18, 2015. Pimentel’s vehicle contained 50 kilograms of a white powdery substance, a Glock .40 caliber handgun, and his Border Patrol Badge and credentials. Pimentel admitted he knew there were drugs in the vehicle and he was taking them to Chicago. He also admitted that he agreed to make the trip for a fee of a $1,000 per kilogram.
The bribery charges relate to an occasion on Feb. 13, 2015, where Pimentel received cash for distributing license plate information he had obtained from a law enforcement database. Pimentel had been employed as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent since 2001, with the Nogales Border Patrol Station.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, DHS-OIG, and CBP-OPR. Additionally, the Arizona Department of Public Safety performed the traffic stop on Pimentel that led to his arrest. The prosecution was handled by Gordon E. Davenport, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.