The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice recently announced the guilty plea of a former Customs and Border Protection officer who violated the civil rights of two undocumented immigrants.

Santiago Perez, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, pleaded guilty [on August 19] in federal court in Houston to violating the civil rights of a Guatemalan national and a Mexican national, who had crossed the border into the United States.

In pleading guilty, Perez admitted that in December 2006 near Falcon Heights, Texas, he struck an individual from Guatemala in the head with his service pistol after the individual had attempted to flee. The blow produced a significant gash on the victim’s head.

Perez also admitted that, in a separate incident in September 2007 near Premont, Texas, he threatened to kill an individual from Mexico whom he believed was an alien smuggler. Perez drove the individual to a secluded location, removed him from the patrol car, forced him to kneel and then began interrogating him. Perez placed his service pistol against the individual’s head and threatened to kill him if he failed to disclose the location of other aliens. On each count, Perez faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Perez is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 4, 2008 at 1:00 PM.