- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Straight from the files of “what were they thinking” comes a criminal case out of California, where agents nabbed smuggling suspects who were prowling around Border Patrol headquarters, peeking over hedges and peering in windows to try to spot some friends of theirs.

The two men, Gurdev Singh and Ranel Bongayan, told agents they had been part of a smuggling operation late last month but two of their compatriots disappeared, and they figured the guys must have been caught.

So they showed up at headquarters a few days later to try to see if they could spot them, the men said, according to an affidavit filed in court by Agent Giancarlo Lugo.



An agent pulling into the parking lot spotted the men lurking and called for backup. When they went to investigate they found a glass methamphetamine pipe and cocaine in the men’s vehicle, and nearly 10 grams of fentanyl in the pocket of Mr. Singh’s short pants.

After initial confusing stories, agents separated the men and Mr. Bongayan revealed that they’d been part of an Aug. 27 smuggling attempt along with Jonathan Scott and Leonard Lim, who were riding in a separate vehicle.

Mr. Singh and Mr. Bongayan picked up and delivered their targets but Mr. Scott and Mr. Lim disappeared. Mr. Singh figured out they’d been nabbed and on Aug. 31 he convinced Mr. Bongayan to attempt to find them at headquarters, according to court documents.

Mr. Bongayan also said they were trying to make another smuggling while visiting headquarters that day, but they never made it to the location.

He fingered Mr. Singh as the ringleader and said he’s also heavily involved in drug smuggling.

For his part, Mr. Singh denied personal drug use.

“I don’t do anything anymore, I’m 16 days clean,” he told agents, according to the court filings.

Mr. Lim and Mr. Scott were caught after Defense Department personnel spotted them in a white sedan picking up illegal immigrants on the side of a road in Chula Vista, California.

Mr. Lim told agents he was getting paid $500 to $1,000 per person for five illegal immigrants.

Federal prosecutors asked that both men be detained but a magistrate judge rejected the idea and set bonds of $25,000 for Mr. Scott and $30,000 for Mr. Lim. Mr. Singh was given a $15,000 bond and Mr. Bongayan a $10,000 bond.

The Mexican migrants arrested alongside Mr. Lim and Mr. Scott told agents they were paying $9,000 to $9,500 apiece to be smuggled in.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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