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June 8, 2009

LAST OF THREE CONVICTED OF SHOOTING OF ICE AGENT SENTENCED

(McALLEN, Texas) – Juan Villarreal, 30, his brother, Leobardo Villarreal, 26, and Abel Rangel, 37, have been sentenced to long prison terms for shooting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. United States District Court Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa handed down Juan Villarreal’s sentence late today and the sentences of Leobardo Villarreal and Abel Rangel on Friday, June 5, 2009.

“Today's sentencing serves to reinforce our commitment to protecting our agents and holding accountable those who try to harm them,” said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in San Antonio. “Both Villarreals and Rangel will have the next few years to think about the egrecioius crime committed against a federal agent. Now that the case is behind us, I want to commend the trial attorneys, agents and police officers who came to our assistance when our agent was attacked. Their tireless work during those few days is what made this sentencing possible.” 

In the late afternoon of May 5, 2005, an ICE agent was conducting surveillance of drug trafficking activity near the Rio Grande River south of Mission, Texas. While driving north on Schubach Road, the agent stopped at the intersection of Highway 83 and Inspiration Road and noticed two men in a Ford Mustang driving close.

The Ford Mustang, driven by Juan Villarreal, stopped next to the agent’s car, at which time, Leobardo Villarreal exited the vehicle with a handgun. Leobardo Villarreal, believing the car contained several hundred kilograms of marijuana, walked to the agent’s driver side door, pointed the handgun at her and demanded she get out in an attempt to steal the car. When the agent refused to open the car door, Leobardo Villarreal shot into the car striking the agent in the foot. Leobardo and Juan Villarreal fled when they realized the driver of the car was a female.

While Juan and Leobardo Villarreal attempted to steal the agent’s car, Rangel was conducting surveillance for law enforcement.

Leobardo Villarreal pleaded guilty to the attempted carjacking and the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, that is, the attempted carjacking. The court sentenced him to 151 months in prison for the attempted carjacking and 120 months in prison for the use of a firearm during the commission of the crime of violence. These two sentences are to run consecutively, resulting in a total 271-month sentence. He will also serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of his prison term. 

Juan Villarreal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and the use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. The court sentenced him to 30 months in prison for the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and 48 months for the use of the firearm during a drug trafficking crime, to run consecutively for a total 78-month sentence. The court also assessed three years of supervised release.
           
Rangel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and the use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. The court sentenced him to 40 months in prison for the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and 80 months for the use of the firearm during a drug trafficking crime to run consecutively for a total 120-month sentence. Rangel will also serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of the prison term.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Mission Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anibal J. Alaniz.

 

 

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