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Border Patrol agent, state prison guard sentenced to prison

PHOENIX -- A former U.S. Border Patrol agent and a former state prison guard were sentenced to prison on Tuesday.

Judge Paul Rosenblatt sentenced Ivhan Herrera-Chiang, 31, and Michael Lopez-Garcia, 30, to 15 years and nine years, respectively.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange hopes the prison terms will send a message to other government officials who may be engaging in illicit activities.

"These defendants engaged in a profound betrayal of the public trust. The U.S. Attorney's Office, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to strive to ensure the integrity of every officer entrusted with the safety of the public," Strange said. "These sentences send a powerful message that we will not tolerate corruption within the law enforcement ranks."

The men were found guilty for their involvement in a plot to provide sensitive information to drug traffickers and to arrange for the murder of an informant.

The defendants also earned money by helping traffickers smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants into the United States. Lopez-Garcia smuggled methamphetmine under his prison guard uniform and attempted to smuggle 30 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

In exchange for bribes, Herrara-Chiang assisted him by providing sensor maps, combinations to gates near the Mexican border, computer records and the location of Border Patrol units.

During the final stages of the partnership, Lopez-Garcia attempted to arrange for the murder of a government informant after becoming fearful that the informant might be able to provide incriminating information about his activities. As part of this plan, Lopez-Garcia obtained confidential information concerning the informant's identity from Herrera-Chiang and then relayed this information to his Mexican trafficking associates.

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