Corruption at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
Officer Lorne “Hammer” Jones allowing Tons of Marijuana
to be smuggled through his inspection lanes

On December 20th 2013, a veteran U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was convicted by a federal jury today of allowing tons of marijuana and loads of people to be smuggled through "his" inspection lanes.

A jury in federal court deliberated for five days before convicting Lorne Leslie "Hammer" Jones, 50, of helping smugglers enter the U.S. through the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings.

"Lorne Jones allowed greed to destroy everything his badge represents," said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

Jones was on the take for a decade beginning in 2000, first waving cars and vanloads of aliens and drugs through his lane at the San Ysidro port of entry, and eventually graduating to tractor-trailers jammed with marijuana at the commercial port at Otay Mesa.

Prosecutors said that Jones, a former Marine, received as much as 500.000 USD from smugglers, allowing a lavish lifestyle that included a boat, trips to Las Vegas and season tickets to San Diego Chargers games.

Prosecutors used a database that tracks people and vehicles crossing the border to argue that Jones knew for years that large vehicles operated by drug trafficking organizations were passing through the lanes where he was an inspector.

Jones volunteered to work overtime shifts so he could wave through vans jammed with undocumented immigrants and drugs, and trucks full of marijuana, prosecutors said.

Jones' involvement in the conspiracy became known when a van stuffed with four tons of marijuana was detected at the San Ysidro crossing by another inspector and a pot-sniffing dog, according to testimony. Jones was supposed to wave the van through the crossing, but the detection was made before the van reached his position.

San Ysidro Checkpoint in San Diego
Among the prosecution witnesses was a former colleague of Jones' who testified that the pair was helping smugglers in the early 2000s. The colleague has since served four years in prison.

Jones had been an inspector since 1994. He was indicted in 2010. Sentencing was set for March 24, 2014 at 9 a.m.

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