TUCSON - Federal prosecutors say a U.S. Border Patrol agent has pleaded guilty to smuggling more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the country in his government vehicle.
Agent Juan Luis Sanchez of Rio Rico, Ariz., pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, bribery and worker's compensation fraud charges during a hearing in Tucson on Tuesday.
The U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix announced the plea on Thursday. Sanchez, 31, had been on administrative leave and resigned his position after entering the plea.
Sanchez admitted transporting six marijuana loads ranging in size from 376 pounds to 921 pounds between 2002 through January 2004. He admitted taking $45,000 in bribes.
Sentencing is set for August 13. He faces up to life in prison and a $4 million fine on the drug smuggling charge alone, but the plea deal calls for a sentence of between 10 and 15 years.