Terence "T.J." Bonner, who for 22 years served as head of the
National Border Patrol Council, was charged in two indictments, in
2012 and 2013, with multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and
conspiracy to commit both.
He was accused of writing himself checks from union coffers as
reimbursement for business travel, overtime, weekend wages and other
union expenses but which officials said were actually used to buy
pornography and pay for trips to Chicago to see a mistress.
Federal prosecutors said he siphoned hundreds of thousands of
dollars in all in union funds for his personal use.
Bonner pleaded not guilty and has maintained that the charges were
brought in retaliation against him for speaking out against the
He had sharply criticized the U.S. Justice Department over the
failed "Fast and Furious" gun-running investigation, an operation
intended to track weapons sold in Arizona that were suspected of
being transported to Mexican drug cartels.
At the request of prosecutors, all charges against Bonner were
dropped late Tuesday on the eve of a court hearing that was intended
to sort through what evidence against him would remain after U.S.
District Judge William Hayes threw out most electronic evidence that
had been gathered in the case.
[to top of second column]
Hayes had found then that investigators improperly conducted a broad
search of Bonner's computers under a warrant that the judge said was
more limited in scope.
"They ransacked my home and personal computers looking for something
to charge me with because I was speaking unpleasant truths," Bonner
said in a telephone interview on Tuesday night. "They humiliated me,
and they violated my Constitutional rights. They picked me up by the
ankles and shook me until my pockets were empty."
Federal prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Marty Graham; editing by Steve Gorman and Ken Wills)
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