A former United States Border Patrol agent has pleaded guilty to allowing illegal aliens and narcotics into the country.

Emanuel Isac Celedon, 36, pled guilty to four counts of bringing an illegal alien to the U.S. through the Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry in Laredo. He also admitted to taking bribes and attempted smuggling of what he thought was cocaine.

Texas Scorecard previously reported on prosecutors accusing Celedon in December of letting individuals through the lane he controlled without inspection at least nine times from September to November of last year.

Celedon said he informed smugglers in advance of his lane assignments. Authorities also discovered that Celedon at least twice entered false data into a Border Patrol database to help drivers avoid mandatory secondary inspection.

Federal investigators said Celedon sought contacts within Mexican cartels who would pay him to smuggle cocaine and asked others to relay information that he was willing to facilitate their human smuggling operations.

In a separate case, Celedon was accused of taking a $6,000 bribe to smuggle what he thought was cocaine. It turned out to be part of a sting operation by federal authorities that was crucial in catching him.

Law enforcement has since seized $1,980 from Celedon which he tagged as originating from the proceeds of human smuggling.

He faces a combined 25 years for the charges in the smuggling case, as well as another 15 years for bribery, 40 years for drug-related charges, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Celedon was not the only person targeted by federal authorities in the operation. A resident in Cotulla was hit with four counts of human smuggling, and two Mexican nationals illegally residing in the U.S. also face charges.

The news comes roughly one year after a Border Patrol agent stationed at the El Paso Port of Entry, Fernando Castillo, was charged with human smuggling, bribery, and wire fraud, ABC News reported at the time.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehensions went down significantly in January compared to record highs during the end of 2023.

The largest decrease was in the Del Rio sector, which includes Shelby Park—an area in Eagle Pass that Texas authorities took over from federal Border Patrol agents in January.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.