Border Patrol agent, prison guard accused of aiding drug-smugglers

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YUMA, Ariz. -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent and an Arizona prison guard are accused of conspiring to help a drug-trafficking organization smuggle drugs into the United States.

Border Patrol Agent Ivhan Herrera-Chiang, 29, and corrections Officer Michael Lopez-Garcia, 28, were charged with conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Herrera-Chiang is stationed in Yuma, while Lopez-Garcia works at the Arizona State Prison Complex in San Luis.
Herrera-Chiang is accused of obtaining and disclosing sensitive information, including sensor maps, combinations to gates near the border, the identity of confidential informants and other information he had access to as a member of an intelligence unit.

Lopez-Garcia is accused of personally smuggling 2 pounds of methamphetamines through the port of entry, guiding cocaine traffickers around Border Patrol checkpoints and patrols, and delivering the intelligence materials allegedly obtained by Herrera-Chiang to people he believed to be smugglers. Lopez's drug buyer was actually an undercover agent.

A conviction carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $10 million fine or both.