Former FMCSA investigator charged with bribery and extortion

A former South Texas Department of Transportation employee was indicted by a federal grand jury in Houston on Monday on bribery and racketeering charges, according to the Justice Department.

Patrick Gorena, 54, a former investigator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration DOT office in Weslaco, Texas, is accused of agreeing to alleged safety violations he encountered while inspecting a local trucking company in exchange for a $2,000 bribe minimize.

On July 20, Gorena conducted a safety inspection at a local trucking company and allegedly told the company that it could be fined $15,000 “for the violations it found and that the company’s operations could be suspended,” according to court documents .

Court documents did not identify the trucking company.

Gorena, a resident of Lyford, Texas, initially demanded a $3,500 payment from the trucking company in exchange for minimizing the violations, which would have exposed the company to potential fines and inability to operate.

Lyford is approximately 40 miles from the US-Mexico border crossing at the Brownsville Gateway Port of Entry.

Gorena eventually accepted a $2,000 bribe from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as the trucking company’s representative, authorities say.

Gorena, who appeared in court on Monday, faces one charge of bribery and one charge of racketeering under the color of official law – an official who exchanges his or her official actions for the payment of money. If convicted on both counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

According to the FMCSA, motor transporter safety specialists are responsible for meeting the agency’s accident reduction goals. The primary role of a security investigator is to conduct compliance investigations into transportation companies.

Click here to see more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles from Noi Mahoney

Mexico remains the US’s top trading partner in October

Cyber ​​attack disrupts Mexico’s transportation system

Experts discuss how truckers can survive the freight recession

Leave a Comment