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EL PASO, Texas — A Mexican national residing in Seminole was sentenced in a federal court on Oct. 1 to a year in prison for attempting to bribe a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent.
According to court documents, Pedro Thiessen, 71, failed to declare $12,171 when entering the United States at the Ysleta Port of Entry in October 2022. Thiessen filed a petition to recover the funds and an HSI special agent interviewed him in January regarding the petition.
Thiessen offered to pay the agent an unknown amount of money if the agent assisted with the recovery. The agent reported the offer to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility.
Thiessen again proposed a monetary offer to the agent during a Feb. 6 phone call. On Feb. 15, the special agent arranged a meeting with Thiessen for the following day. Thiessen presented the agent with $1,000 at that meeting and was immediately arrested.
Thiessen pleaded guilty on July 7 to one count of paying a bribe to a public official.
“I appreciate the integrity and dedication of the HSI agent involved to report the bribe and lead us to the arrest of this defendant,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Jaime Esparza. “We will prosecute and hold accountable anyone who offers a bribe to the honorable federal law enforcement officers serving in this district.”
“Homeland Security Investigations takes all bribery attempts of its employees extremely seriously,” said HSI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola. “In this case, an individual offered a monetary bribe to one of our special agents in return for assistance in recovering thousands of dollars he attempted to smuggle into the country. As a result, he is facing time in prison.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Osterberg prosecuted the case.