A former Tucumcari police chief was arrested Friday and accused of trying to smuggle an illegal immigrant into the U.S.
Ronald Lewis Haley was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port near San Diego, according to a border patrol press release.
Haley, 41, was hired as the deputy police chief of Tucumcari on Oct. 6, 2007. He served as interim chief of police from July 13, 2007, following the resignation of Larry Ham.
At the time of his arrest, Haley was a member of the Bosque Farms Police Department near Albuquerque.
Border patrol agents said Haley drove up to the San Ysidro port of entry with a female passenger in a Chevy Tahoe with New Mexico plates.
Haley presented his valid travel documents, and presented a Mexican border crossing card for his female passenger, the release stated.
The CBP officer suspected the document did not belong to the female passenger, and referred the car and occupants for a more thorough inspection, according to the release.
Officers said they discovered the document actually belonged to the woman’s sister, and the woman did not have any legal documents to enter the U.S.
According to the release, Haley was being held at the San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center awaiting charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.
“There is no profile of what a smuggler looks like, so our officers have to expect to encounter anything. It is disheartening to see a police officer taken away in handcuffs to face charges,” said Chris Maston, Port Director at the San Ysidro port of entry. “Spotting an impostor to a legal document is a difficult task, but one that officers here at San Ysidro perform countless times a day. I am extremely proud of the diligence of my officers.”