Border Patrol misconduct statistics implicate Texas
Laredo sector had second-highest rate of disciplinary actions
WASHINGTON — The Border Patrol sector in Laredo, Texas — where two agents were accused this year of multiple murders in separate cases — disciplined employees more on average over two years than any other major sector, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday.
The findings were part of a comprehensive look at misconduct at the 60,000-employee law enforcement agency that includes the Border Patrol. The data showed overall there was a decline in substantiated complaints of misconduct and fewer arrests of agents in the budget years 2016 and 2017.
“The disciplinary reports show that the vast majority of CBP agents and officers exemplify our core values, perform their duties with integrity, and that every employee is accountable to upholding the high standards of professional conduct both on and off-duty,” said Melvin Harris, deputy assistant commissioner of human resources management at CBP.
The data do not include 2018. But they showed the Laredo sector, one of the nation’s largest, was experiencing disciplinary problems even before the highprofile cases.
According to the reports, there were 435 instances in which an agent in Laredo was dismissed, suspended, demoted or given another form of discipline in the 2016 and 2017 budget years.
The average rate of disciplinary actions in Laredo was 11.3 per 100 employees in the 2016 fiscal year and rose to 13 per 100 employees in 2017. Laredo was above the national average for those years, which was 8.1 and 7.4, respectively.
Laredo had the secondhighest rate of any sector in 2016, behind only Miami, a comparatively small sector with no land border to patrol.
It had the highest rate of all sectors in 2017. It had almost the same number of disciplinary incidents that year as the neighboring Rio Grande Valley sector, which is the nation’s busiest corridor for unauthorized crossings and has nearly twice as many employees.
Last month, Laredo agent Juan David Ortiz was arrested and accused of targeting women believed to be prostitutes in what prosecutors say is the work of a serial killer. He has been accused of killing four women, and prosecutors say he likely used his service weapon in the crimes. Ortiz has not been indicted, and his attorney didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.