Roberto Adams, a Laredo, Texas, man who worked as an animal health inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been sentenced to federal prison for accepting bribes from Mexican cattle brokers, an official with the U.S. Justice Department said. Adams, 69, pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered that Adam serve 57 months in federal prison immediately, followed by three years of supervised release. The sentence was enhanced because he accepted more than one bribe payment while in a position of public trust for over $40,000.
In handing down the sentence, the court noted Adams did not understand the gravity of the crime he committed and the significance of the harm he did or could have caused by allowing diseased cattle into the country. He was also ordered to pay $40,000 in fines immediately.
“It is critical that we do not allow corruption to infect positions of public trust, including inspectors at the port of entry,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. “They are supposed to ensure the safety and integrity of the agricultural products passing into the United States. Adams put that system at risk. We hope this sentence serves as deterrent to others thinking of violating their obligations.”
At the time of his plea, Adams admitted he accepted over $40,000 in bribe payments from Mexican cattle brokers while acting as a USDA employee. In return, he allowed cattle to enter the United States without proper quarantine or inspection.
Adams was employed at the USDA as a lead animal health technician for 10 years. In that role, he was responsible for inspecting, quarantining, or excluding tick-infested or diseased cattle. He was only one of two USDA technicians employed in Laredo and exercised high-level decision-making authority.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic
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