A Laredo man, Roberto Adams, has been ordered to federal prison for accepting bribes from Mexican cattle brokers. Adams pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Adams, age 69, to serve a total of 57 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. The sentenced was enhanced because he accepted more than one bribe payment while in a position of public trust for a total amount of 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 immediately pay $40,000 in fines.
At the time of his plea, Adams admitted he accepted over $40,000 in bribe payments from Mexican cattle brokers while acting in his official position as a USDA employee. In return, he allowed cattle to enter the United States without proper quarantine or inspection.
Adams was a employed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lead animal health technician for 10 years. In that role, he was responsible for inspecting and quarantining or excluding tick-infested or diseased cattle. He was only one of two technicians the USDA employed in Laredo and exercised high level decision-making authority.