LAREDO, TEXAS – The US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas, recently announced that a former US Department of Agriculture (USDA) animal inspector was sentenced to federal prison after accepting bribes from Mexican cattle brokers.

Roberto Adams, 69, pled guilty to the charges on April 25. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered that Adams serve a total of 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and pay $40,000 in fines.

As part of the plea deal, Adams admitted he accepted more than $40,000 in bribe payments while acting in an official capacity with the USDA. In return, he allowed cattle from Mexico to enter the United States without proper quarantine or inspection.

“It is critical that we do not allow corruption to infect positions of public trust, including inspectors at the port of entry,” said Alamdar S. Hamdani, US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. “They are supposed to ensure the safety and integrity of the agricultural products passing into the United States. Adams put that system at risk. We hope this sentence serves as deterrent to others thinking of violating their obligations.”

Adams was the lead animal health technician at USDA for 10 years. In that position, he was responsible for inspecting and quarantining or excluding tick-infested or diseased cattle. The US Attorney’s office said Adams was one of two technicians the USDA employed in Laredo and exercised a high-level of decision-making authority.