Prosecutors: Border Patrol agent had secret underground bunker

SAN DIEGO (AP) – A Border Patrol agent charged with harboring illegal immigrants, including his deportee father, had an underground bunker in his backyard where a man was found hiding, a federal prosecutor said.

Federal agents raided the home of Marcos G. Manzano Jr. on Tuesday in the border area of San Ysidro. They moved a concrete slab and climbed down a ladder that led to a room 7 or 8 feet high, prosecutor Tara McGrath said Wednesday.

Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, 26, was found hiding beneath a table in the room, McGrath said. He had been deported previously and was charged with being in the country illegally, the prosecutor said.

Agents also found more than 2 ounces of methamphetamine in Manzano's home and he could face drug charges, according to McGrath.

Manzano, who joined the Border Patrol in 2007, was arrested Monday night at the Imperial Beach station and is charged with harboring illegal immigrants, aiding and abetting, and lying to a federal officer. Authorities also want to seize his home, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday.

A federal magistrate set Manzano's bail at $75,000 during his arraignment Wednesday. McGrath argued unsuccessfully for a $200,000 bond, saying that Manzano had a girlfriend in Mexico and ties to that country.

Defense attorney Frank Ragen, arguing for lesser bail, said Manzano had lived in San Diego his entire life.

A call to Ragen seeking comment was not immediately returned Thursday.

Prosecutors have said Manzano's father, Marcos Manzano Sr., 46, had been living at his son's home illegally for at least a year and had been deported after a conviction for possession of marijuana. The father was not arrested but faces federal immigration-violation charges and remains at large.

Manzano has been suspended from his job indefinitely, Border Patrol spokesman Steven Pitts said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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