A Tucson Sector Border Patrol Agent was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Border Corruption Task Force (BCTF) late in the afternoon of August 9, 2020. The agent was taken into custody for suspicion of narcotics trafficking.
Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, of Buckeye, Arizona, was arrested on multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Passapera was charged by complaint, and had his initial appearance on August 10 before United States Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman of the District of Arizona.
According to the complaint, Passapera is a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station. On August 9, 2020, at approximately 3:15 AM, Passapera left his residence and drove south to a remote area of the border west of the Lukeville Port of Entry. Passapera then drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where he loaded two duffel bags into another vehicle. Law enforcement agents stopped the driver of that vehicle after it left the airport, and searched the duffel bags. The bags contained multiple packages of substances that field tested positive for the characteristics of cocaine (21 kilograms), heroin (1 kilogram), and fentanyl (1 kilogram). The bags also contained approximately 350,000 pills. A sample from the pills field tested positive for the characteristics of fentanyl.
Law enforcement agents took Passapera into custody later that day while executing a search warrant at his residence. During the search, agents found approximately $329,000 in U.S. currency in Passapera’s residence, and an additional $40,000 in the vehicle Passapera used to transport the illegal narcotics.
Convictions for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
The charges resulted from an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, the Homeland Security Investigations, NATIVE Task Force in Sells, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tucson is handling the prosecution.