RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — A Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent arrested for smuggling cocaine through the Falfurrias checkpoint has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
On Thursday, Oberlin Cortez Pena Jr., 22, pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling, which he was arrested for on July 9. He was given a $100 thousand bond for this charge.
Authorities said Pena accepted $1,000 in exchange for helping a vehicle with at least 11 pounds of cocaine.
Officials said Pena “utilized his knowledge” as a Border Patrol agent “in acting as a scout and providing information about the inspection lanes and which one to utilize.”
According to the criminal complaint, Pena gave precise instructions on hiding the drugs and tactics to use to distract the K-9 unit at the checkpoint.
If convicted of the charges, Pena faces a minimum of 10 years up to life in federal prison as well as a possible $10 million maximum fine.
Pena was arrested for DWI in March by the Alamo police department, according to jail records.