LAPD Officer has been arrested and federally charged after allegedly trying to smuggle two people through an immigration checkpoint in Southern California.
Mambasse Koulabalo Patara is the police officer from Los Angeles Police Department, who will be faced with violating immigration laws after a federal complaint was filed against him on Wednesday.
Patara was arrested Tuesday morning at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Pine Valley, located about 12 miles north of the border crossing between the U.S and Mexico.
Mambasse Koulabalo Patara drove up to the checkpoint with 2 male passengers in a 2006 Toyota Corolla at 12:15 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the federal complaint.
While the Border Patrol agents interviewed Patara, he showed them his LAPD badge and told that he was off-duty, the federal complaint states. After the agents patted him down, they found his service-issued gun on his waistband, according to the complaint.
Patara reportedly said to the border agents that his two passengers were citizens of the U.S. But both of the passengers identified as Herman Lopez and his nephew German Ramirez Gonzalez admitted that they were in the country illegally.
All three of them were transported to the Campo Border Patrol Station and arrested the same day.
The people from his neighbourhood in Fontana, were in disbelief.
‘I heard what happened, and I’m really shocked,’ said one woman. ‘They’ve always just been a really nice family ever since my husband and I have lived here. […] There are always multiple sides to every story, so I think that’s important for everyone to keep in mind […] before jumping to conclusions on these types of things.’
‘I just don’t believe that he’s doing that. I don’t believe at all that he’s capable of doing something like that.’ Another neighbour told CBS2.
Patara has been placed on paid administrative leave, an LAPD spokesperson confirmed to CBS2.
If he is convicted, Patara will face up to five years in prison.