Mexican drug cartels have used cash and sexual favors as tools to corrupt U.S. border and customs agents, an inspector general investigation has found.
In exchange, agents allow contraband or unauthorized immigrants through inspection lanes, protect or escort traffickers or leak sensitive information, said Charles Edwards, acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.
Testifying before a Senate subcommittee, Edwards cited the Zetas drug cartel as one of the leaders "involved increasingly in systematic corruption."
He did not elaborate on how non-cash methods of corruption, like sexual favors, have been used to corrupt agents.
Since October 2004, 127 Customs and Border Protection employees have been arrested or indicted for acts of corruption, said agency Commissioner Alan Bersin, speaking at the same hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs.
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