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Immigration & The Border

A top Border Patrol official resigned after allegedly pressuring female employees for sex, officials say

Tony Barker, who was acting chief of the law enforcement operations directorate, is under investigation by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
Tony L. Barker, Acting Chief of the Law Enforcement Operations Directorate at the U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters.
Tony L. Barker, the former acting chief of the Border Patrol's Law Enforcement Operations Directorate.CBP Office of Training and Development / via YouTube

A top official at the U.S. Border Patrol abruptly resigned in October after allegations came to light that he pressured a subordinate employee to perform sexual favors, and other women have since made similar allegations that they were victimized by him, say three Department of Homeland Security officials. 

Tony Barker, who served as the acting chief of the law enforcement operations directorate for the Border Patrol, is now under investigation for his behavior by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the three officials say. 

According to the sources, one woman said she had a consensual relationship with Barker that she tried to end, prompting Barker to retaliate. Barker allegedly threatened to tell others that she had illegally issued contracts if she did not perform sexual favors.

Since she came forward with her allegations to DHS, multiple other women who worked with Barker have made similar complaints, the sources said. 

Barker left his post quietly in October after two decades with the Border Patrol. A career appointee who served under multiple administrations, Barker most recently took on the job as CBP’s point person on the Southwest Border Command Center, an interagency task force established to handle the surge of migrants at the border. 

In a statement, Tony Barker said, "The allegations that I pressured any woman for sexual favors or victimized them are entirely and unequivocally false. I am proud of my 21 years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. I am now taking this time to focus on my family and seek other opportunities.”

A CBP spokesperson said, "As of Oct. 14, 2022, Tony Barker is no longer an employee of the U.S. Border Patrol.

"We do not tolerate misconduct within our ranks. When we discover any alleged or potential misconduct, we immediately refer it for investigation and cooperate fully with any criminal or administrative investigations. This is the case whether the alleged misconduct occurs on or off duty. Federal privacy laws prohibit discussion of individual cases."