Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Chris Stone
Border Patrol agent monitors U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Chris Stone

A federal complaint unsealed Friday alleges a Border Patrol supervisor created bogus alerts so that a lawful U.S. resident and frequent border crosser would be repeatedly detained by immigration officers.

U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Martin Rene Duran, 46, is charged with five counts of unlawfully causing the detentions while acting under the color of law and three counts of falsification of records and obstruction.

“This type of corruption is in a category all by itself,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “When an officer turns on those he is supposed to protect, and uses his significant power against law-abiding people who had faith in him, it’s a special kind of betrayal.”

According to the complaint, Duran’s target was a man who had instigated a criminal investigation in Mexico of Duran’s brother-in-law, Raymundo Estrada Figueroa, who is accused of raping and abusing the man’s 11-year-old son for two years.

Estrada, 48, was a boyfriend of the child’s mother at the time. The abuse is alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2013 in Tijuana.

Estrada is charged in the same complaint as Duran with two counts of traveling from the United States to Mexico to engage in illicit sexual conduct. One count relates to the border crosser’s son; the other involves that boy’s half-brother.

The border crosser — referred to in court documents as R.C. — is a Mexican national and legal U.S. resident with no criminal background, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the complaint, R.C. was sent to secondary inspection and detained on five occasions at the San Ysidro border crossing in 2013 based on the false alerts allegedly entered into a law enforcement database by Duran.

The alerts indicated, among other things, that R.C. was “known to carry firearms” and that he was “associated with recent threats to CBP personnel,” according to the complaint.

Every time R.C. was detained, no weapons or contraband were found and he was released, the complaint states.

R.C. believed Duran — a supervisor at the Imperial Beach Border Station — was trying to pressure him into dropping the charges against Estrada in Mexico, according to the complaint.

In a separate complaint, Duran was charged with firearms violations related to the purchase of guns in Arizona. He will be back in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.

— City News Service