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A U.S. agriculture inspector whose job was to keep disease and pests out of the country pleaded guilty to letting ranchers bypass animal quarantines in exchange for bribes. The inspector received between $40,000 and $95,000 from Mexican cattlemen for allowing them to cross into Texas without incident.
Monday, 68-year-old Roberto Adams went before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Kazen in Laredo, where he pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of a public official. Adams was a lead animal health technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture until he left the service in December 2021, after being discovered. He is expected to go before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo on August 3 for a sentencing.
The case against Adams began on January 8, 2021, when an anonymous tipster reported him to the USDA Office of Inspector General claiming that an inspector was letting cattle with live ticks into the country. By March of that year, authorities spoke with a cattle broker who told them that a Laredo-based inspector named “Roberto” was accepting bribes in exchange for letting cattle with ticks into the country. Investigators recruited informants and were able to learn that Adams was using a secret cell phone to communicate with Mexican ranchers.
By November, federal authorities obtained a search warrant to go through Adams’ phones and interviewed him. Adams revealed that he accepted bribes in exchange for letting sick cattle or animals with “dry ticks” into the country without quarantines or other measures. A search of the phones revealed that Adams would use a messaging application to coordinate the wiring of funds into his bank account.
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Written by: LoneRhody
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