Former federal agent who aided organized-crime figure is sentenced to 10 years in prison

The seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hangs on a wall
A former agent with Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, took bribes in the form of “cash, checks, private jet travel, luxury hotel stays, meals and other items of value” to help an organized-crime figure, prosecutors said.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

A former federal agent from Murrieta was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for taking bribes to help an organized-crime figure by providing updates on investigations and deleting information from a government database, prosecutors said.

Felix Cisneros Jr., 48, was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and forfeit $133,000. He was convicted in May of 30 felonies: 26 counts of money laundering, one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official and two counts of submitting a false tax return.

The charges stem from an 18-month period beginning in September 2015 during which Cisneros was employed as a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.


“Cisneros accepted cash, checks, private jet travel, luxury hotel stays, meals and other items of value from a person … who was associated with a criminal organization,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California. The person was identified only as “Individual 1,” and the organization was not disclosed.

In the last two months, agents with Homeland Security Investigations have seized as much fentanyl as they did in all of 2019, federal officials said.

Nov. 21, 2022

Cisneros received about $100,000 in checks and gifts from the person and performed multiple favors in return, prosecutors said.

In one incident, Cisneros accessed a government database and removed “derogatory information” regarding a German national.

He placed an alert in a law enforcement database for an address associated with an illegal marijuana grow operation, allowing him to learn of law enforcement’s interest in the operation and warn Individual 1.

He collected information regarding an associate of Individual 1 whose house had been searched by law enforcement and provided Individual 1 with information about the investigation.


Cisneros also obtained an official Department of Homeland Security letter that allowed the brother-in-law of Individual 1 to be paroled into the United States from Mexico, then provided updates on the status of the brother-in-law’s asylum application.