Pubdate: Tue, 26 Sep 2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440
Author: Marisa Taylor, Staff Writer


An immigration inspector is accused of accepting up to $90,000 in bribes in 
exchange for allowing undocumented immigrants and drugs to cross the border 
at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Jose Antonio Olvera, 36, is accused of accepting between $2,000 and $4,000 
in bribes from a smuggling ring for each load of drugs and immigrants.

According to a federal indictment unsealed yesterday, Olvera allowed the 
smuggling through his lane between October 1997 and November 1999.

Guillermo Hernandez Mancilla, the 40-year-old owner of a dry-cleaning 
business who lives in Ensenada, is accused of paying the bribes.

Daniel Villegas, 26, and Guadalupe Polanco, a 44-year-old domestic worker 
who lives in Chula Vista, are accused of working with Hernandez.

Another man named in the indictment is still at large.

The Border Corruption Task Force began the investigation in 1998 after a 
U.S. agent detected more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in a pickup before 
it reached Olvera's lane.

The agent reported the incident to investigators after becoming suspicious. 
The load he saw was poorly concealed under a sheet of plastic, said Joseph 
Artes, the special agent in charge of the Justice Department's Office of 
the Inspector General in San Diego.

Artes said the number of allegations of corruption involving immigration 
inspectors have increased since Operation Gatekeeper.

Gatekeeper was started in 1994 to clamp down on the flow of undocumented 
immigrants by posting U.S. Border Patrol agents between the ports of entries.

If convicted, Olvera and Hernandez face up to 15 years in prison. Villegas 
could face 10 years in prison and Polanco up to five years.
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