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Trial Begins For Border Patrol Agents Accused Of Force-Feeding Marijuana To Suspected Drug Smugglers

A U.S. Border Patrol agents monitor the area near the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California, U.S. on Wednesday, March 2
A U.S. Border Patrol agents monitor the area near the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California, U.S. on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Mexico's peso rose, paring its second weekly decline, amid speculation exporters are selling dollars to raise funds for tax payments before a month-end deadline. Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

This may not be what people have in mind when they talk about border security. A federal jury trial began Tuesday for two Border Patrol agents facing civil rights violation charges for allegedly forcing four suspected drug smugglers to eat a bunch of weed and then strip back in November of 2008, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

Dario Castillo and Ramon Zuniga, along with two other agents who aren’t named in the indictment, allegedly told the four people, all of whom were undocumented immigrants, to take off their shoes socks and “all outerwear,” and then set the clothes on fire, along with their food. Instead of arresting the suspected smugglers, the Border Patrol agents then set them free, barefoot in the desert without a jacket on a 40 degree night, according to the indictment. “'Run, get out of here,' these are the words of Border Patrol agents to four men caught breaking the law," Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rolley said in her opening statement Tuesday, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Dario also faces a charge of tampering with a witness, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to Reuters. The civil rights charges carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

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