LYFORD, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A former U.S. Department of Transportation employee out of Lyford was charged by a federal grand jury with bribery and extortion.

Patrick Gorena, 54, a former border investigator for the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, faces an initial federal court appearance at 2 p.m. Monday, according to federal authorities.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern District of Texas detailed the bribery allegations prior to that hearing, stating that a grand jury in Houston returned an indictment.

“In exchange for minimizing purported safety violations he encountered while auditing a trucking company, which would have exposed the company to potential fines and the loss of their DOT license, Gorena allegedly demanded a $3,500 payment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

The indictment alleges Gorena accepted a $2,000 bribe from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a representative of the trucking company.

Gorena is charged with one count of bribery and one count of extortion. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

The DOT-OIG and McAllen FBI Public Corruption Squad are investigating the case.