A Border Patrol officer is accused of sneaking a Mexican woman into the U.S. to be her nanny, authorities say.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Rhonda Lee Walker, 40, was charged with conspiring to transport an illegal alien and making false statements after undercover agents and surveillance video caught her bringing the woman across a Laredo border crossing, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.
In June, an anonymous tipster told the federal agency that Walker employed a live-in caretaker and nanny who didn’t have permission to work in the U.S., according to a criminal complaint. For nearly eight months, agents watched Walker’s home and saw an unidentified woman housekeeping and caring for children at Walker’s home, the complaint says.
They later identified her as a Mexican citizen with a non-immigrant visa that did not allow her to live or work in the U.S., the complaint says.
On Jan. 2, a surveillance camera captured Walker meeting the woman in the middle of the bridge at the Laredo Port of Entry and escorting her to a checkpoint, the complaint says. She’s accused of using another officer’s login information to scan the woman’s documentation and grant her entry, authorities say.
When the woman tried to enter the U.S. 10 days later, officers investigating the case met her on the bridge. She admitted to providing childcare and housekeeping services for Walker, the complaint says.
The woman told investigators Walker helped her circumvent the COVID-19 travel ban by arranging for an appointment at a plasma donation center on Jan. 2, the complaint says.
Walker is accused of lying about wiring money to the woman and falsely identifying her as an aunt, authorities say. She later provided a written statement admitting she paid her directly, the complaint says.
Walker could go to prison for up to 20 years if convicted of the conspiracy charge and five years for the false statement charge.
The woman from Mexico was detained as a material witness in the case.