Last Defendants Associated With October 2011 Round-Up in Borger, Texas, are Sentenced to Federal Prison
AMARILLO, Texas — The last three defendants, associated with the October 2011 round-up in Borger, Texas, were sentenced today in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña.
Judge Robinson sentenced Jose Luis Fernandez. 37, to 109 months in federal prison and sentenced his brother, Aaron Steven Fernandez, 26, to 40 months. In addition, Judge Robinson fined Jose Fernandez $10,000 and ordered forfeiture as imposed in the preliminary order of forfeiture. The brothers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Today, Judge Robinson also sentenced Thomas Joseph Salazar to 30 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to the same offense. All three defendants have been in federal custody.
Earlier this month, Judge Robinson sentenced Francisco Villanueva “Frank” Fernandez, 43, to100 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine and forfeit approximately $165,000 in cash, a Maserati, a Mercedes-Benz, a Bentley, a camper, a ski boat and trailer, and real estate located at 328 and 330 N. Main in Borger.
Frank Fernandez was indicted in November 2011 for his role in narcotics distribution conspiracy and pleaded guilty in January 2012 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and five kilograms or more of cocaine. As part of his plea, Fernandez admitted to supplying narcotics to street-level dealers in and around Amarillo, Texas.
Frank Fernandez’s wife, Amy Fernandez, 43, was sentenced on February 29, 2012, to 12 months in federal prison following her guilty plea in November 2011 to one count of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. In addition, Judge Robinson ordered Fernandez to pay an agreed money judgment of $99,950. According to documents filed in the case, Amy Fernandez admitted that she purchased cashier’s checks from four separate financial institutions each day during the week of February 22, 2010, through February 26, 2010. In order to avoid federal reporting requirements, Fernandez purchased these cashier’s checks in either $3000 or $2950 amounts, for a five-day combined total of $59,550. Bank tellers stated during these transactions, Fernandez tendered cash that she removed from large, gallon-sized plastic bags that she carried in her purse. During one transaction, Fernandez stated that she had to make certain that she stayed under the “$3,000 threshold.”
Dustin Engler, 25, was also sentenced by Judge Robinson this morning to 120 months in federal prison. Engler and his co-conspirator, Raphael Garcia, 36, made arrangements with a confidential informant to sell methamphetamine outside a grocery store in Borger. Garcia drove Engler to the store after directing Engler to hide the methamphetamine in a secluded residential area to be retrieved as part of the sale. Outside the store, Engler contacted the arranged purchaser of the methamphetamine, an undercover officer, and told the officer to follow Garcia to the residential area in which the narcotics were hidden. After arriving, Engler stepped out of the passenger side of the vehicle and directed the officer to a nearby pile of bricks, saying, “It’s in there.” The officer then retrieved a plastic bag containing methamphetamine from the pile. Both pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Garcia was sentenced to 160 months in federal prison on January 31, 2012. Both Engler and Garcia were in custody at the time of their sentencing hearings.
This afternoon, Judge Robinson also sentenced David Escobar, 27, to three years of probation and a $2,000 fine for his role in a gambling enterprise based out of Borger. Escobar admitted that he operated all or part of a gambling business involving sports betting from December 2010 to October 2011. As part of his plea papers, Escobar admitted that co-defendant Jose Luis Fernandez hired him to help operate Fernandez’s sports-book operation in the Texas Panhandle, agreeing to pay Escobar $300 per week to act as a bookie, fielding telephone calls by individuals placing sports bets, documenting bets, and arranging for the payout of winnings and collections of debts. Part of his job involved receiving payments at specifically scheduled times. When Escobar faced a difficult time receiving payment, Escobar would contact Jose Luis Fernandez or his brother Aaron Steven Fernandez, both co-defendants, for assistance in collecting.
Lastly, this afternoon Judge Robinson sentenced Leonard Anthony Scott, 47, to 145 months in federal prison. Scott pleaded guilty in December 2011 to one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. His co-defendant and half brother, Tomar-Bysshe Embers, 38, pleaded guilty to the same offense and was sentenced on February 29, 2012, to 120 months in federal prison. Both Scott and Embers have been in custody since their arrests in October 2011.
DEA led the investigation with assistance from several agencies including the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Amarillo Police Department
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Schall prosecuted and the forfeiture was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney John DeLaGarza
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