The former head of the FBI office in El Paso was indicted Wednesday on charges he lied about his relationship with a Mexican businessman who authorities suspected of links to drug traffickers.
Hardrick Crawford, special agent in charge of the El Paso from 2001 to 2003 could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the five criminal counts in the indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury.
The indictment said he accepted gifts including trips to Las Vegas and Mexico City, a country club membership and weekly lawn service at his home from Jose Maria Guardia, owner of a racetrack in Juarez across the border from El Paso.
Guardia also gave a $5,000-a-month job to Crawford’s wife.
In return, Crawford “assisted Guardia with visa difficulties and vouched for (him) with American investors and suppliers,” the indictment said.
It said Crawford, who has retired from the FBI, lied about the gifts and withheld information about Guardia when questioned by federal investigators in 2003.
The indictment charges that FBI agents repeatedly warned Crawford of reports that Guardia was involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
Crawford had Guardia take a polygraph test which indicated he lied when he denied involvement in drugs, the indictment said.
A few days later, he took part in a press conference at Guardia’s racetrack in which he said they were friends and he was not aware of his participation in anything criminal.
Guardia has denied accusations of involvement in the drug trade and has not been charged with a crime.
Neither he nor Crawford could be reached for comment.