Border agents convicted of theft in San Diego

The Associated Press
Thursday November 30, 2000



SAN DIEGO — A Border Patrol agent and one of his former colleagues were convicted Wednesday of stealing equipment from agency vehicles and trading it for goods and services. 

After a 12-day trial, a federal jury deliberated 14 hours over three days before convicting Elwood Ray Keeran and Mark J. Daeumer of conspiracy and theft of government property. 

Keeran, a Border Patrol agent in San Diego, and Daeumer, who was previously with the Border Patrol but is now a detention officer with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New Orleans, face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and 10 years for the theft, federal prosecutor Richard Cheng said. 

The federal indictment against the men claimed they stole seats and center consoles valued new at $267,000 and bartered them for other equipment and services from an off-road vehicle store. Neither the store nor its employees were charged. 

Lawyers for Keeran and Daeumer plan to appeal. 

“We’re not going to abandon these guys because I just think the wrong result was reached,” said Everett Bobbitt, an attorney whose firm represents both men. 

Keeran and Daeumer were assigned to a Border Patrol unit that received new sport utility vehicles and retrofitted them for law enforcement work by removing rear seats and center consoles. The equipment was stored so it could be reinstalled later and the vehicles could be auctioned to the public when the Border Patrol replaced the vehicles. 

The men suggested to superiors that the equipment could be traded for other services and equipment needed by the Border Patrol, but began exchanging parts for their own benefit without permission, Cheng said.