BY JIM KOURI
In a joint Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) far-reaching investigation, members of the Arizona National Guard, including military recruiters were discovered working as “muscle” and “traffickers” for Mexican drug gangs, according to a report on Friday from the DOJ. About 12 National Guard were identified as suspects in one of the FBI’s biggest government corruption cases ever, which was almost totally ignored by government officials in Washington and major national news outlets
On Friday in federal court, a non-commissioned officer (non-com) with the border-state Arizona’s Army National Guard was sentenced to federal prison for his role in protecting drug traffickers by using his military position to provide security for shipments of cocaine being transported from Mexico into the United States, according to U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials.
Sgt. Raul Portillo, who listed Phoenix, Arizona, but was suspected of living in Mexico, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and interfere with commerce by attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge James A. Soto of the District of Arizona imposed a sentence of only four years in federal prison.
According to his allocution before Judge Soto, the 34-year-old Portillo, a sergeant and recruiter in the Arizona Army National Guard, conspired with others from the National Guard to moonlight as protection for Mexican narcotics traffickers transporting and distributing cocaine to other locations in the southwestern United States. However, at one point during an FBI and military law enforcement sting operation the narcotics traffickers turned out to be undercover agents.
Although Portillo was identified by the FBI as a suspect, he mysteriously was never charged and he allegedly fled to Mexico. “In the case of Portillo, as well as other soldiers and sailors involved in criminal enterprises, the Defense Department and law enforcement agencies appear to be complicit in covering up the crime and misconduct cases involving enlisted ‘undocumented immigrants,’” said former NYPD police officer Iris Aquino. “If they’re undocumented, how do you know they’re not criminals or terrorists signing up to serve in the U.S. military?” she asked.
Once the November elections were over, President Barack Obama’s program appeared to be replacing American citizens, who are being terminated from their military units with illegal aliens in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Pentagon is once again seeking to attract so-called undocumented recruits in the next several weeks, according to Military Times. Yet, neither the White House nor the Justice Department will acknowledge how many of the up to 58 National Guard troops arrested are immigrants.
According to his confession, Portillo admitted that he wore his official uniform, carried official forms of identification and weapons, used official military vehicles, in addition to using his official authority to bypass police stops and searches. He also drove through law enforcement checkpoints manned by agents from U.S. Border Patrol, officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Nevada law enforcement officers.
Portillo also confessed to taking payments totaling $12,000 for his transport and protection services for two large cocaine shipments. Portillo also shocked those hearing his allocution when he told the sentencing judge that he was paid a bonus of $2,000 by a Mexican drug gang for his success in recruiting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspector. To date, 58 defendants have been convicted and sentenced for charges stemming from this investigation and it’s believed they will be more arrests and convictions.
Jim Kouri, CPP, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. This article originally appeared in the Examiner and is reprinted by permission of the author.