Ex-Customs Officer Lied about US Citizenship, Gets Probation

By Prendergast, Curt | AZ Daily Star, April 2, 2019 | Go to article overview

Ex-Customs Officer Lied about US Citizenship, Gets Probation


Prendergast, Curt, AZ Daily Star


A former customs officer in Douglas was sentenced last week to one year of probation and fined $1,000 for lying about being a U.S. citizen.

Marco Antonio De la Garza, 38, worked for Customs and Border Protection for six years until he was indicted in March 2018 for falsely stating he was a U.S. citizen, when in fact he was a Mexican citizen, on a CBP background check and on a passport application, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

De la Garza was accused initially of lying on a CBP background check in October 2016 and on a passport application he submitted at Cochise County Superior Court in October 2017. The charge related to the background check was dismissed when he pleaded guilty in December to lying on the passport application. He was sentenced March 28.

De la Garza’s career at CBP, as well as five years serving in the U.S. Navy on submarines, was made possible by a Texas birth certificate from 1980. He claimed he was born in Brownsville, Texas, rather than his true birthplace of Matamoros, the Mexican city across the international border from Brownsville, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General wrote in a Feb. 22, 2018, criminal complaint.

The midwife who signed his birth certificate was convicted four years later of conspiracy to make false statements on birth certificates, the special agent wrote. Mexican school records showed De la Garza was registered using the Mexican birth record and date of birth, as the Arizona Daily Star reported in March 2018.

“Growing up my parents told me that I was a U.S. citizen and my whole childhood I was led to believe this was true,” De la Garza wrote in a Jan. 16 letter to U. …

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