LOS ANGELES – A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has been arrested on federal charges of helping a foreign national enter the United States without proper authorization, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Felix Cisneros, 42, of Murrieta, a 10-year veteran of ICE who most recently was assigned to the HSI Inland Empire office, was arrested Wednesday afternoon pursuant to a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors.
The complaint was unsealed Thursday morning, and Cisneros is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court.
The complaint charges Cisneros with aiding and assisting an inadmissible alien to enter the United States, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
The case against Cisneros is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General; and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Cisneros took steps that allowed an inadmissible Mexican national to enter the United States. Cisneros allegedly acted at the behest of a local organized crime figure with business interests in Mexico.
The alien – a legal permanent resident, who, as a result of felony convictions, would have been barred from re-entering the United States – was employed by the organized crime figure to negotiate with a Mexican company.
The complaint alleges that the organized crime figure asked Cisneros in 2013 to help the alien return to the United States after a trip to Mexico.
Cisneros allegedly helped the alien regain a passport that had been seized several months earlier when the alien had attempted to enter and had been paroled into the United States.
The complaint further alleges that Cisneros facilitated the alien’s re-entry into the United States at Los Angeles International Airport.
Cisneros convinced officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to return the alien’s passport and re-admit him to the United States “likely through deception,” according to the affidavit.