EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Texas man is going to prison for bribing a federal agent while trying to recover cash that had been confiscated at the border.
Pedro Thiessen, 71, of Seminole, Texas, failed to declare more than $12,000 when he returned to the U.S. from Mexico in October 2022 at the Ysleta Port of Entry in El Paso.
Thiessen petitioned to have the money returned and was being interviewed by a Homeland Security Investigations agent the following January when he offered to pay them an unknown amount if they helped with the recovery.
Prosecutors say the agent reported the offer to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility.
During a phone call on Feb. 6, Thiessen again offered the agent money, and the agent arranged to meet with Thiessen in the following days.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Thiessen presented the agent with $1,000 when the two met on Feb. 16, and Thiessen was immediately arrested.
Thiessen pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe to a public official on July 7 in El Paso and was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday.
“I appreciate the integrity and dedication of the HSI agent involved to report the bribe and lead us to the arrest of this defendant,” U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas said in a statement. “We will prosecute and hold accountable anyone who offers a bribe to the honorable federal law enforcement officers serving in this district.”
An HSI official said the agency takes bribery “extremely seriously.”
HSI and ICE OPR investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Osterberg prosecuted the case.