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High-ranking border official fired for unspecified reasons

The Associated Press, August 3, 2000

DEMING, N.M. (AP) -- A high-ranking official in the Deming office of the U.S. Border Patrol was fired because of a longstanding affair with an illegal immigrant, the U.S. Justice Department has reported.

Gilbert Guaderrama, a 13-year veteran of the force, was the assistant patrol agent in charge of the Deming office when he was fired March 25, spokesman Doug Mosier reported in May. But Mosier said he couldn't divulge at that time the reason for the dismissal.

A Justice Department report released Wednesday said Guaderrama had a "lengthy and intimate" relationship with an illegal immigrant. A letter sent to Guaderrama last December from Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Jerry Armstrong said he was fired for "having an improper relationship with an alien, failure to report contact with an illegal alien and failure to comply with assignments, instructions and service policy."

The documents were obtained by the Las Cruces Sun-News with a Freedom of Information Act request.

The newspaper identified the woman as Alma Villescas-Nunez, who was arrested last October. The dismissal letter said Guaderrama personally handled the case and "released Ms. Alma Villescas-Nunez from custody without properly documenting her arrest and subsequent release."

Guaderrama, 43, began his duties with the Border Patrol on Aug. 11, 1986, and served his entire service in the El Paso sector, Mosier said. He was appointed assistant agent in charge in Deming in 1998, said Richard Moody, agent in charge of the Deming station.

A termination appeal filed on behalf of Guaderrama has been dropped, Mosier said.

Efforts to reach Guaderrama for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

The Deming station has 82 Border Patrol agents.