Two top homeland security officials testifying before a U.S. Senate subcommittee this week said that they have seen a marked increase in attempts by large Mexican criminal organizations to bribe their officers with money and sexual favors.
The officials -- Charles Edwards (shown in photo), the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, and Alan Bersin, the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner -- told the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee that they have had a 38 percent increase in the number of complaints against CBP employees since 2004. (See full video of the testimony here.)
Edwards singled out the Zetas organization, a powerful group that broke from their progenitors last year to form their own criminal gang. The CBP has grown by 34 percent since 2004, but the inspector generals’ office at CBP has only grown 10 percent.
The goal, said Bersin, is to have all potential employees pass a series of tests, such as a polygraphs, by 2013. Bersin added that 127 CBP personnel have been arrested or indicted for corruption.
The irony is not lost on Mexico: The United States Government insists that all incoming Mexican police pass similar tests in their own countries. Many police have left their units or simply been expelled.