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Ex-border officer pleads guilty to letting people into U.S., accepting bribe

While working at a Laredo port of entry, Emanuel Isac Celedon permitted people to enter the country without being checked and allowed what he thought was cocaine into the U.S.

A former Customs and Border Protection officer who worked at a Texas port of entry pleaded guilty this week to letting undocumented people into the U.S. and allowing what he thought was cocaine into the country, officials said.

Emanuel Isac Celedon pleaded guilty in two federal cases Monday — one dealing with smuggling people into the U.S. and a second that involved taking a bribe for what he believed was a shipment of cocaine, prosecutors said.

Celedon, 36, worked at the Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry in Laredo on the U.S.-Mexico border.

He let people through the lane he controlled without inspection at least nine times from September to November and told smugglers in advance what his lane assignment was, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said in a statement.

Celedon also took a $6,000 bribe to allow vehicles with what he believed were kilograms of cocaine — but which was actually “sham cocaine” and part of an undercover investigation — into the U.S., the prosecutor’s office said.

Celedon's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

He pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of bringing an undocumented alien to the U.S. in one criminal case and to counts of bribery and attempted importation of a controlled substance in the second, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry is one of five border land crossings in Laredo.