Federal authorities Tuesday arrested a former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations on federal bribery charges that allege the Murrieta man accepted at least $122,000 and other benefits to provide assistance to a person linked to organized crime.
Felix Cisneros Jr., 46, was taken into custody without incident and is expected to be arraigned on a 28-count indictment Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The indictment filed on Feb. 16 charges Cisneros with conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, bribery, and 26 counts of money laundering.
Over an 18-month period starting in September 2015, Cisneros accepted cash, checks, private jet travel, luxury hotel stays, meals and other items of value from a person identified as Individual 1 who was associated with a criminal organization, according to the indictment. Cisneros allegedly received at least $122,000 from Individual 1 in 2015 and 2016.
Cisneros allegedly accepted the cash and other bribes while a special agent with HSI, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. In exchange for the bribes, Cisneros allegedly performed a series of official acts at the behest of Individual 1, including:
— accessing a DHS database for information about a German national identified as W.R., and telling Individual 1 he removed a “hit” on W.R., “thus indicating derogatory information had been removed”;
— placing an alert in a law enforcement database for an address associated with an illegal marijuana grow operation so Cisneros could learn of law enforcement interest and warn Individual 1;
— obtaining an official DHS letter signed by an HSI assistant special agent in charge to allow the parole of Individual 1’s brother-in-law into the United States from Mexico, and later providing updates about the brother-in-law’s asylum application; and
— collecting information on an associate of Individual 1 whose home had been searched by law enforcement and later providing Individual 1 with information about the investigation.
The conspiracy charge in the indictment carries a sentence of up to five years in federal prison, the bribery count carries a sentence of up to 15 years, and each money laundering charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, prosecutors said.
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