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Ex-LAPD officer pleads guilty to trying to smuggle man across Mexican border

A former Los Angeles police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to smuggle a Mexican citizen into the U.S. in the spare-tire compartment of his SUV, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Carlos Curiel Quezada Jr., 34, faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His girlfriend, Angelica Godinez, 31, has pleaded guilty to lying on an application for court-appointed counsel, officials said.

According to court documents, Quezada — a 10-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran — and Godinez were stopped as they drove through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry into San Diego on March 14, 2015. The couple handed their passports to Customs and Border Protection officers and told them they had nothing to declare.

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Officers scanned Quezada’s 2014 Nissan Juke with an imaging device and noticed something unusual about the rear end of the SUV. They popped the trunk and found a 26-year-old man hiding in the compartment where the spare tire is stored, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Antanasio Perez Avalos, a Mexican citizen, did not have authorization to enter the U.S., officials said.

david.hernandez@sduniontribune.com

Hernandez writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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