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April 8, 2008 - Vancouver Sun (CN BC)

Ex-Border-Guard Gets Jail Time, Supervised Release

Desmone Bastian Traded Sex With Woman For A Free Pass Through Border

By: Kim Bolan

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

SEATTLE - A former U.S. border guard and Surrey resident who was convicted of exchanging sex with a Canadian prostitute for free passage into Washington state was sentenced Monday to 32 months in jail and two years of supervised release.

Desmone Bastian, 31, was convicted in January and could have faced up to 15 years in jail for accepting a bribe.

U.S. District Judge James Robart called Bastian's action "an incredibly serious offence."

"A trusted servant of the U.S. government allowed an individual to make multiple trips into the U.S. without any supervision," Robart said during sentencing in Seattle.

He said Bastian, an American, had demonstrated a "propensity to deny and blame others," and that his testimony regarding "the nature, duration and frequency of encounters with the woman was not credible."

Bastian was arrested in October 2006 after finishing his shift at the Peace Arch border crossing.

Earlier, Vancouver prostitute Sandra Maas had been charged with smuggling both marijuana and oxycodone into the U.S., always going through Bastian's lane.

Maas testified at Bastian's trial, admitting that she would meet Bastian for sex as payment for being allowed to enter the U.S. without being searched.

Bastian had also been charged with conspiring with Maas to smuggle drugs into the U.S., but a jury acquitted him of aiding in the importation of the drugs and was deadlocked on several other counts.

According to U.S. prosecutors, Bastian first contacted Maas at her Vancouver escort service sometime in 2001 or 2002.

At first, Bastian paid her for sex. But he later told her about his job, at one point wearing his uniform to her brothel. And beginning in late 2004, he received free sex in exchange for letting her cross the border.

Maas bragged to her drug conspirators that she had a connection at the border that allowed her to easily get her goods into the U.S.

During the trial, prosecutors presented phone calls taped by the Canadian police in which Maas discussed with her drug supplier how her contact had checked records and she was not flagged in the system for inspection.

But Maas' and Bastian's deal fell apart on April 14, 2006, when Maas was stopped at the border by another guard while Bastian was posted to the truck crossing.

It was then that U.S. inspectors discovered nearly 3,000 vacuum-sealed oxycodone pills hidden in Maas' bra and panties.

Maas was charged with importing narcotics but, in a plea bargain with the U.S. government, agreed to testify against Bastian in exchange for a two-year sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Roe told the court Monday it was "a sad day at this courthouse when a federal official is being sentenced for bribery."

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