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Former Customs and Border Protection officer sentenced to time served for bribery

A federal judge sentenced a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer to time served Monday for bribery.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa sentenced Julio Cesar Trujillo, 32, of Mission to time served — the 593 days he spent in federal detention — and two years of supervised release. Trujillo apologized to Customs and Border Protection, adding that he simply got greedy.

legal“I have no other way of explaining it,” Trujillo said.

FBI agents arrested Trujillo after conducting a sting operation, according to the criminal complaint against him and courtroom testimony.

At 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2016, a federal informant met Trujillo outside a restaurant in Mission.

Trujillo accepted $3,600 to extend a visa for “Person A” and help “Person B” obtain a visa, according to the criminal complaint, which doesn’t identify either person by name. After taking the money, Trujillo instructed the informant to send “Person A” to the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge four days later.

FBI agents recorded the meeting.

When he returned to work, Trujillo searched for information about “Person B” on a government computer, according to the criminal complaint.

FBI agents arrested Trujillo on Jan. 28.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos ordered Trujillo held without bond. He quickly pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official, which is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Sentencing, though, took more than two years.

Hinojosa rescheduled the sentencing hearing nine times, according to court records, which don’t reveal who requested the delays or why. Many records from the case, including several motions for continuance, remain sealed.

While he awaited sentencing, Trujillo spent nearly 20 months in solitary confinement. Guards locked him in a cell for 23 hours a day, allowing him to watch TV or exercise for the remaining hour.

Ramos reconsidered her ruling in September 2017, allowing Trujillo to post a $75,000 bond and await sentencing under his father’s supervision.

Trujillo arrived in court Monday wearing a black suit. He sat through sentencing hearings for two drug traffickers before the judge called him forward.

Prosecutors filed a sealed motion to reduce Trujillo’s sentence. After a bench conference, Hinojosa granted the motion.

Hinojosa admonished Trujillo for disgracing himself, dishonoring Customs and Border Protection and damaging public trust in government.

“I appreciate what you’ve done to try to correct this,” Hinojosa said without elaborating.

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