Father of accused Border Patrol agent arrested

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A fugitive Mexican national whose son, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, allegedly harbored him illegally in a San Ysidro home for months was arrested over the weekend, authorities reported Monday.

Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr., 46, surrendered to agents with the Border Corruption Task Force near the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station about 11 a.m. Sunday, according to the FBI.

A federal criminal complaint charges Manzano and his 26-year-old son, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., with violations of immigration laws.

Manzano Jr., a U.S. citizen, was arrested late on the evening of Jan. 10 at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station, where he worked. Shortly before dawn the next day, a federal SWAT team raided the agent's house in the 3600 block of Shooting Star Drive and arrested suspected illegal immigrant Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, 26.

Garrido-Morena was found hiding in a backyard bunker, the prosecutor said. The underground chamber — about 7 to 8 feet high — was covered by a concrete slab and accessible by a wooden ladder, authorities said.

According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, Garrido-Morena had been living at the residence since at least November along with the agent and Manzano Sr.

In addition to purportedly harboring undocumented immigrants, Manzano Jr. allegedly lied to a fellow Border Patrol employee when asked while on duty if he knew the whereabouts of his father, who was convicted four years ago in a U.S. court of possessing marijuana for sale and was twice deported to Mexico.

Manzano Jr., a Border Patrol officer since 2007, also had been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge but failed to report it to his supervisor as required, according to prosecutors.

During the agent's Jan. 12 arraignment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath told Magistrate Judge Louisa Porter that agents serving a search warrant at the agent's home found 61 grams of methamphetamine and paraphernalia to package and distribute the drug.

Defense attorney Frank Ragen said Manzano Jr. had moved out of the Shooting Star home when his parents divorced, but recently started living there again. The prosecutor, however, said Manzano Jr., the owner of the property, had been residing there as far back as September 2009.

McGrath, arguing unsuccessfully for a $200,000 bond, said Manzano Jr. had a girlfriend in Mexico and other substantial ties to that country.

Porter set bail at $75,000 and said Manzano Jr. had to restrict his travel to the Southern District of California.

Garrido-Morena, who was arraigned on a charge of being a deported alien found in the United States, has three prior misdemeanors on his record and a felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance.

Manzano Sr. was booked into county jail in Chula Vista. He is expected to appear before a federal judge on Tuesday.

Categories: KUSI