PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A former federal agent is facing jail time in Virginia after failing to inspect international cargo ships for invasive species and diseases and lying about it.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday that Carl James Jr. will be sentenced in federal court in January. He pleaded guilty last week to making a false statement on a government form.

James had worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a terminal for the Port of Virginia in Portsmouth. Prosecutors said the 38-year-old told his bosses that he’d inspected more than 260 ships as they traveled through.

Prosecutors said he inspected about 35 ships.

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

James' attorney, Nicholas Renninger, said James had been overwhelmed with his work duties and accepts responsibility.

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