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Border agents furious after ‘Door of Hope’ ceremony at U.S.-Mexico border featured convicted drug mule in ‘cartel wedding’

December 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Border agents furious after ‘Door of Hope’ ceremony at U.S.-Mexico border featured convicted drug mule in ‘cartel wedding’

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Border agents furious after ‘Door of Hope’ ceremony at U.S.-Mexico border featured convicted drug mule in ‘cartel wedding’


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The groom who participated in a feel-good “Door of Hope” wedding at the U.S.-Mexico border attended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in November turned out to be a convicted drug mule.

Border patrol officials are furious that Brian Houston managed to pass a federal background check before he married Evelia Reyes in a special ceremony in Border Field State Park in San Diego. Houston had been busted with 43 pounds of heroin, 47 pounds of meth and 43 pounds of cocaine early this year.

“The agents are upset like they were taken advantage of…like they were duped,” Joshua Wilson of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 said. “We provided armed security for a cartel wedding.”

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Houston and Reyes signed Tijuana documents making them officially married, and embraced between the doors of a steel gate. The gate is only opened for one hour once a year.

Houston lives in San Diego while Reyes is a native of Mexico.

Brian Houston, who turned out to be a convicted drug smuggler, marries Evelia Reyes in “Door of Hope” ceremony last month.

It was the first wedding held during the “Door of Hope” event, which permits people who cannot cross the border to meet for three minutes. Houston is not permitted to cross the border because of his arrest, but border patrol agents were unaware of his criminal history.

“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” Houston said to the Union-Tribune at the time of the ceremony. “Even though we are divided by a giant fence, we can still love each other on both sides.”

A federal background check didn’t reveal that Houston pleaded guilty to drug smuggling back in May. Houston was arrested in February while crossing into the U.S. with the drugs concealed in his vehicle. Because of this, he is not permitted to cross into Mexico.

The nonprofit Border Angels has had six “Door of Hope” openings in the last few years. The group gives the Border Patrol with questionnaires filled out by candidates, and then federal officials perform the background checks.

“Border Angels has never done background checks, as the Border Patrol advised they will do background checks and advise us which families have been cleared,” Executive Director Enrique Morones announced in a statement.

Twelve families were granted access to attend the event that took place on November 18th.

Border Patrol spokesman Takae Michael said Houston was selected through a vetting process based on information provided by Morones. A review “did not indicate criminal activity.”

Morones said he was appalled to discover that Houston was a convicted drug smuggler and intended to meet with new San Diego Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott. The incident makes the future of “Door of Hope” events unclear.

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