Ex-Border Patrol Agents Convicted of Human Smuggling

Two former Border Patrol agents were convicted Friday of smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States from Mexico in a high-profile corruption case, NBC 7 San Diego reported. Raul Villarreal, who had previously been a spokesman for the agency, and his older brother Fidel, whom prosecutors said Raul recruited into the alleged smuggling ring, were both found guilty by a San Diego federal jury after a five-week trial. During that trial, the defense attorney for Raul Villarreal argued that prosecution witnesses had relied on witnesses with strong motives to lie and said surveillance showed no wrongdoing by his client. But prosecutors said the pair abruptly quit their posts in 2006 just after discovering they were being investigated, following a tip to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement a year earlier. The brothers will be sentenced Nov. 16 and could face up to 50 years in prison and upward of $1.25 million in penalties.

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