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Inspector arrested, linked to huge cocaine seizure

September 20, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A U.S. Immigration and Naturalization inspector based at the downtown Calexico Port of Entry was arrested Wednesday in connection with a 1,000-pound cocaine seizure in May 2000, according to federal authorities.

Clark Anthony Miller, 42, of Calexico was booked into the county jail at 4 p.m. by the U.S. Customs Service, the lead agency in the investigation.

Vince Bond, public affairs officer for Customs, said he could not comment on the case other than to confirm Customs headed the investigation. Bond said Customs cannot comment on an active investigation.

According to authorities, a federal grand jury indictment has been filed against Miller and he was to have a hearing at 10:30 this morning. He also was to have a detention hearing today.

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Both hearings were to be in the federal magistrate's court in El Centro.

Miller is facing charges of conspiracy to import cocaine, importation of cocaine, and aiding and abetting and disclosure of confidential information, federal authorities reported.

Miller has worked as an immigration inspector since March 1998. Throughout his years of service he was based at the Calexico downtown port, according to Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for the INS.

Mack confirmed Miller was an INS inspector and he was arrested. She did not have information on the allegations.

On Sept. 11 Miller resigned from the INS but his resignation was not expected to be finalized until this week.

While there were few other details available this morning, authorities said Miller's case was connected to a 1,000-pound cocaine seizure in 2000.

In what may be a related matter, U.S. Customs this summer arrested an Imperial Valley resident, Hector Bermudez, 39, in connection with a 1,000-pound cocaine seizure on May 29, 2000.

Bond said he could not say whether the cases are connected.

The arrest of Bermudez, who remains in federal custody, followed a year-long investigation. Bermudez has been charged with intentionally importing a controlled substance into the United States.

According to Customs officials, on May 29, 2000, a driver in a 1996 Buick Regal with a California license plate drove through the downtown Calexico port.

Later, a Calexico police officer found a vehicle fitting that description abandoned in an alley in the 400 block of Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

A Customs inspector with a canine unit responded to the scene and the dog alerted the inspector to the possible presence of narcotics in the trunk.

Inside the car inspectors found 400 wrapped packages containing a total of 1,033.6 pounds of cocaine.

The driver of the car was not found but was later identified by investigators as Bermudez.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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