Border Patrol agent pleads guilty to drug-related gun charge

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Aaron Anaya By Andrew Michalscheck Aaron Anaya By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent who admitted smuggling marijuana while on duty along the Arizona-Mexico border has pleaded guilty to a felony drug-related gun charge.

The possible punishment for 25-year-old Agent Aaron Anaya ranges from a mandatory five-year minimum sentence up to life in prison for his guilty plea Wednesday to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Authorities say investigators conducting aerial surveillance in southwestern Arizona saw Anaya loading marijuana bundles that had been dropped over the border fence from Mexico into his patrol vehicle on Dec. 2 in between Yuma and Wellton.  

Investigators say they tracked Anaya for several hours as he appeared to return to normal duties and later found nearly 147 pounds of marijuana in back of the agency's patrol vehicle.