For Immediate Release
Former Supervisory U.S. Border Patrol Agent Sentenced Following Convictions for Civil Rights Abuses and Firearms Offenses
SAN DIEGO – Former U.S. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Martin Rene Duran was sentenced in federal court today to 24 months in custody for unlawfully depriving another of his civil rights under color of law and for firearms offenses.
On August 16, 2018, Duran pleaded guilty to two counts charging him with depriving an individual, R.C., of rights under color of law. For over two years, Duran unlawfully wielded the power of the United States government to target and harass R.C., an innocent father trying to protect his child from sexual abuse. Duran created multiple entries in U.S. government databases to harass R.C. Duran falsely accused R.C. of being an arms trafficker; he falsely claimed R.C. was making threats to law enforcement; he falsely claimed R.C. had bribed his way out of child sexual abuse charges in Mexico; he falsely caused law enforcement to detain and interrogate R.C. on several occasions; and he interrogated R.C. himself, threatening to take away R.C.’s legal permanent resident status in the United States. The false database entries created by Duran resulted in R.C. being detained at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on multiple occasions.
Duran’s targeting of R.C. began just days after R.C. filed allegations of child sexual abuse in Mexico against Duran’s brother-in-law, Raymond Estrada Figueroa (who has since been charged with child sexual abuse offenses in the Southern District of California). When confronted about his actions, Duran lied about his behavior. For instance, Duran denounced any motive for targeting R.C., claiming he had no knowledge about the allegations against Estrada. That was false: among other things, Duran hired Estrada’s attorney for the case, sent the attorney emails about Estrada, and even paid Estrada’s attorney for his services. Duran also claimed his false reports about R.C. were based on information he received from a “confidential source.” But that “confidential source” denied even knowing R.C.
Separately, on February 2, 2018, Duran was found guilty after a jury trial of seven counts of illegal transportation of firearms and one count of possession of a short-barreled rifle. Duran purchased seven firearms in Arizona in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Duran made these purchases using an Arizona driver’s license with an address where he never lived and claimed Arizona residency even though he resided in California. At the time of the execution of a federal search warrant in October 2015, Duran was in possession of multiple firearms that were illegal in California and one short-barreled rifle.
Today, for his crimes, U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff sentenced Duran to a term of 24 months’ custody on the firearms offenses and a concurrent term of 12 months’ custody on the civil rights offenses.
“Martin Duran used his significant power as a Border Patrol official against someone he was sworn to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “He targeted a law-abiding citizen because of a personal vendetta, and for that he will go to prison.”
“Former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Martin Duran selfishly tarnished the reputation and badge worn proudly by so many hard working and upstanding members of the law enforcement community,” said Jeffrey J. Gilgallon, Special Agent in Charge, ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. “He shamelessly turned his back on the citizens of the U.S. and used the powers of his office to serve his own personal needs. We are grateful to have the cooperation and support of our DHS federal partners in investigating officials who abuse the public trust.”
“It is ATF’s duty and obligation to conduct criminal investigations whenever presented with credible evidence of violations of federal firearms laws,” said ATF Los Angeles Field Division (LAFD) Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan. “Duran, a law enforcement officer, introduced firearms into the criminal element instead of taking them away from the criminal element. Through his actions, public safety was jeopardized. ATF’s mission is to focus our efforts on firearms traffickers and trigger pullers and we will continue to pursue individuals engaged in this type of illegal activity.”
Martin Rene Duran Age: 49 Chula Vista, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Case Number: 15CR2818
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 242
Maximum Penalties: 12 months’ custody, a fine of $100,000, one year of supervised release.
Case Number: 15CR2817
Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(a)(3) – Illegal Transportation of Firearms
Maximum Penalties: 5 years’ incarceration, a fine of $250,000, three years of supervised release.
Title 26, United States Code, Sections 5861 and 5871 – Possession of Unregistered Firearm: Maximum Penalties: 10 years’ incarceration, a fine of $250,000, three years of supervised release.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Professional Responsibility
Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General
U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Office of Professional Responsibility