ICE Deportation Agent Busted on Drug Charges
ICE Agent and deportation officer Jason Lowery was arrested in Arizona after taking police on a high speed chase as he tossed "bundles" of marijuana from his government vehicle. It was a government sting operation.
A U.S. immigration officer in Arizona was arrested on drug charges after leading authorities on a high-speed chase as he tossed bundles of marijuana from his government truck, state troopers said on Wednesday.
Jason Lowery, a deportation officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was taken into custody on Tuesday in southern Arizona following a 45-minute pursuit that ended when his vehicle flipped, troopers said. Lowery, 34, suffered minor injuries.
After receiving tips Lowery was dirty, the feds and state police got together and put 500 pounds of pot in the desert and then had someone tip Lowery off. Sure enough, he showed up at the location and they watched as he loaded bundles into his car. He then took off and the high speed chase ensued. During the high speed chase, he started throwing the bundles of pot out of his car.
According to the Complaint, available on PACER, Lowery admitted his involvement after being arrested and Mirandized. The Complaint alleges there was an ongoing "rip scheme" by Lowery and a man named Josh in which the two stole pot, using Lowery's status as an immigration officer, from undocumented immigrants. There were recorded calls between the DHS informant, Lowery and Josh.
When the cops first tried to pull Lowery over, close to Josh's house, he stopped, but as the agents got out of their car, he sped off. The high speed chase ensued. It only ended because Lowery lost control of his vehicle and it rolled over. Josh was arrested at his house.
Lowery isn't the only immigration agent caught with drugs. Last week, U.S. Border Patrol agent Michael Angelo Atondo of Yuma was convicted of possessing with intent to distribute and conspiracy to import 700 pounds of marijuana. He had backed his government vehicle up to the border fence and the fence's sensor went off. When the cops arrived, there he was on one side of the fence with his trunk open, and on Mexican side, there were three vehicles facing him. The pot was found in the agent's car.
As of June, 2011, 127 Customs and Border Protection personnel across the U.S. have been arrested, charged and convicted of corruption since October 2004.
Update: The Government is seeking to detain Lowery without bond. At the time of his arrest, he was carry a non-government issued gun. Prior to being a deportation officer, he was a border patrol agent. During the chase, he was driving at a speed of 110 miles per hour. When first pulled over, he fled and began the chase.
"This is becoming all too common, in my opinion," said Jim Dorcy, a retired Border Patrol agent who later investigated corruption among agents for the Justice Department. "Statistically it's pretty rare, but you have to understand that as a law enforcement agency, it should be approaching zero."
He said any amount of corruption in a police agency, let alone dozens of cases, destroys the public's confidence and criminals' respect. The heart of the problem lies in recent hiring booms in ICE and the Border Patrol in which the bar was lowered to meet hiring quotas, Dorcy said. (my emphasis)
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