Border Bribes 'Ever-Increasing' 

Border Bribes 'Ever-Increasing' 
Posted by FoM on September 14, 1999 at 06:46:02 PT
By Arthur H. Rotstein
Source: ABQ Journal
TUCSON -- Ronald "Joe" Borane has been an influential man in the border city of Douglas, a landowner, city magistrate, justice of the peace and a former police chief. 
But authorities say greed led him to collude with a man he thought to be a drug trafficker and arms supplier. Caught in a federal sting operation, Borane now faces charges of conspiracy, money-laundering and fraud. The accusations against Borane illustrate what experts cite as an increasingly common phenomenon along the border. Drug dealers constantly try to grease the way for their goods by dangling often-huge bribes -- up to $1 million -- before public officials or law enforcement officers, experts say. The bribes seek to buy cooperation, to get agents or officers to look the other way as shipments cross the border. "It's an ever-increasing problem," Phil Jordan, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official who still monitors drug cartel activities, said Friday. "We don't have the necessary resources along the U.S.-Mexico border to really put a stop to it." An indictment issued Thursday by an Arizona grand jury accused Borane, 63, of giving an FBI undercover agent money on several occasions to buy drugs and to finance overseas weapons operations. The undercover agent was posing as a businessman who traded military surplus to Guatemalan narcotics dealers in return for drugs that he later sold. It also alleged that Borane offered to sell a building in Douglas to the agent to launder proceeds from the drug operation and dismissed traffic tickets and suspended parking fines between March 1998 and July 1999. Authorities also seized one building and filed a $350,000 civil racketeering lien against all of Borane's 126 properties in Cochise County. Borane, who is also the brother of Douglas Mayor Ray Borane, is free on his own recognizance and will be arraigned Sept. 20. He has been suspended as a Cochise County justice of the peace and a Douglas city magistrate. Earlier this year, Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris Meissner termed corruption on the border "an ever-present threat ... especially for people of modest means who can earn a year's pay in one afternoon simply by looking the other way." "I would think that the trafficking organizations would approach anyone that they think would help their operations in any way," added James Woolley, DEA special agent in charge in Tucson. Jordan said the corruption has no boundaries, and that the recruitment to corrupt and gain the confidence of American officials will continue to escalate. Greed or financial difficulties, and families' ties to a Mexican connection are the most common factors in corruption cases, he added. "But the main focus is the easy dollar." Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Copyright  1997, 1998, 1999 Albuquerque Journal
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