US border agent convicted of smuggling conspiracy

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Updated: 12/20/2013 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal jury has found a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer guilty of conspiring to smuggle drugs and immigrants through San Diego-area border crossings.

But U-T San Diego reports that jurors on Thursday acquitted officer and ex-Marine Lorne Jones, nicknamed "The Hammer," of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

The jury will continue deliberations Friday morning to consider special circumstances that could affect Jones' sentence, including how much marijuana was involved.

In a two-week trial, witnesses including Mexican traffickers and Jones's former wife and fellow border agent Noni Calderon testified that from 2000 to 2009 he used a system of pager codes to alert smugglers which crossing stations he was working. The vehicles loaded with people and drugs would then go to those lanes and cross.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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