Former Border Patrol agent pleads guilty to making false statements

A former officer and program manager with U.S. Customs and Border Protection pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to making false statements in reference to improper use of security clearance and law enforcement databases.

Court documents show Jesus R. Muchacho, 39, of Temple Hills, Maryland, used his position to make unauthorized searches on law enforcement databases and shared sensitive information with foreign nationals.

Muchacho is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Venezuela who was assigned to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center Cargo – or NTCC – in Herndon, Virginia, in December 2013, as a border patrol officer and program manager. The NTCC is responsible for the coordination and examination of what is considered high-risk cargo – and the individuals involved with such shipments – coming into the United States.

The position granted Muchacho Top Secret security clearance, which included access to highly classified information on national security and other sensitive information, as well as access to database systems that are otherwise protected.

Muchacho admitted to the court that during an investigation in December 2016, he falsely denied to federal law enforcement officials that he shared any sensitive information outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection systems. Michacho also admitted to falsely claiming that he was neither asked to, or provided, information from the U.S. government to a third party who was not authorized to receive such information and falsely denied having used law enforcement databases for any non-official purposes.

In addition, Muchacho admitted that he provided false statements during a routine five-year background reinvestigation in 2014, when applying for classified access in 2016, and again during a secondary interview at Dulles International Airport. The false statements were in relation to his U.S. citizenship and contacts with foreign nationals. Furthermore, Muchacho, when asked, did not disclose to officials that he had a Venezuelan passport.

Sentencing for Muchacho is set for July 7, 2017. He faces up to five years in federal prison.