A Los Angeles police officer appeared in a San Diego court today accused of illegally smuggling Mexicans across the state border. He pleaded not guilty.
The complaint against Mr Mambasse Koulabalo Patara explained that he was stopped with two passengers in his car at the checkpoint on Interstate 8 in Pine Valley shortly after midnight Tuesday.
Driving a black 2006 Toyota Corolla sedan, Mr Patara immediately told the agents that he was a US citizen as well as an off-duty police officer. Upon their request, he showed them his Los Angeles Police Department identification card.
The court documents stated that at the time of the interrogation, Mr Patara appeared nervous and agitated. A secondary inspection for further questioning was deemed necessary. Arriving at the station, Mr Patara informed the Border Patrol agents again that he was a Los Angeles police officer and was in possession of his service-issued weapon.
Furthermore, the border patrol agents also found a pistol concealed in the rear of Mr Patara’s waistband.
The two passengers in the back of his vehicle, identified as Mr Fermin Lopez and his nephew, Mr German Ramirez-Gonazalez, at first stated that they were also U.S. citizens, but after further questioning indeed revealed that they were Mexican citizens not in possession of the necessary immigration documents.
Mr Ramirez-Gonzalez then admitted to the border patrol agents that he and Mr Lopez had illegally crossed the border about a week ago already.
Meanwhile Mr Ramirez-Gonzalez claimed that he knew the LAPD office mr Patara having done work on his property.
Mr Patara was placed on paid administrative leave for the time being, having been with the department for about 11 years.