HOUSTON – A 34-year-old Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer is now in custody for allegedly violating a passenger’s civil rights and obstruction, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Law enforcement arrested Christopher Edwards Dowell, Conroe, today. He is expected to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena H. Palermo at 1 p.m.
A federal grand jury returned the sealed two-count indictment June 9, which was unsealed today upon his arrest.
The charges allege Dowell deprived a female of her civil rights at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. While conducting a secondary inspection, he allegedly touched the victim’s breasts without her consent. He then engaged in obstruction by attempting to cover up the incident with information he submitted in the secondary inspection report, according to the indictment.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for obstruction as well as another year for the violation of civil rights. The obstruction and civil rights charges also carry potential fines of $250,000 and $100,000, respectively.
The Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Suh is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.