25 March 2014. Lorne “Hammer” Jones, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, was sentenced yesterday to 7½ years jail for accepting bribes to allow aliens to enter the country and allow drug cartels to smuggle some 30,000 kilograms of drugs over a decade. He engineered a scheme to notify the smugglers of the lane he was working so that he could wave them to proceed without inspection. He used a beeper code system to notify smugglers of the lane he was working on. Jones even volunteered to work overtime so that he could allow vehicles carrying aliens and drugs. During this 10 year period he worked at both the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings.
His scheme failed on two occasions which led to raise suspicion. Once in 2002 he was randomly and unexpectedly assigned to a different lane. The driver of the van with a full load of drugs abandoned the vehicle and escaped. The second failure occurred when a van carrying 3 tons of marijuana was intercepted in the lane assigned to Jones a few cars length away from him. He frantically tried to wave the van through but the driver and the passenger jumped out of the van and tried to escape. Several inspectors hurried in pursuit and apprehended them. This drug seizure was said to be the largest ever at the San Ysidro port of entry.
A dozen witnesses testified about his being on the take. His ex-wife who recruited him to be a smuggler testified. His financial adviser who helped him to hide his ill-gotten gains also testified. Evidence from a database that tracks information about people crossing the border was also produced by the prosecution. The database shows information such as the license plate numbers, names of those who were inspected and by whom. From this information it was possible to establish that Jones had allowed vehicles carrying aliens and drugs to pass through without inspection.
Jones acknowledged that he waived his right to appeal.