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May 1, 2009

FORMER SHERIFF PLEADS GUILTY TO DRUG TRAFFICKING

(McALLEN, Texas) – Reymundo Guerra, 52, of Rio Grande City, Texas, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The former Starr County Sheriff pleaded guilty at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane today in McAllen.

Guerra admitted that since at least January of 2007 he utilized information learned as a result of his position as sheriff to enable Jose Carlos Hinojosa and his drug trafficking associates to avoid investigation and possible arrest and to hasten their release if they were arrested. If Guerra knew or anticipated there might be increased law enforcement activity in the area of Starr County, Guerra would warn Hinojosa. Guerra also forced closure of a case associated with one of Hinojosa’s associates. On at least one occasion, Guerra knowingly gave a false document to investigators to deflect suspicion from one of Hinojosa’s associates. Guerra also assisted Hinojosa to learn of information leading to searches of stash locations and residences and/or seizures of controlled substances. Through his actions, Guerra helped Hinojosa and his associates to continue to engage in drug trafficking activities in Starr County. In return for his information and protection, Guerra was compensated through “gifts” from Hinojosa, typically $2,000 to $3,000 at a time.

Guerra is scheduled for sentencing on July 29, 2009. He faces no less than 10 years up to life imprisonment, a $4 million fine and a five-year-term of supervised release. Guerra was allowed to remain on bond but was advised he will be taken into custody on July 29, 2009. 

Guerra was one of a total of 27 individuals named and charged with various drug trafficking and/or money laundering offenses alleged in a recently returned superseding indictment. Of those 27 defendants, a total of 20 have entered pleas of guilty to one or more counts of the indictment including the former sheriff. Seven are fugitives and the indictment remains sealed as to a 28th defendant. 

Jose Carlos Hinojosa, 31, a resident alien from Mexico residing in Roma, Texas; Raymundo Edgar Gonzalez, 37, of Roma, Texas; Sergio Ivan Olivarez-Flores, 25, a Mexican citizen from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico; Jorge Alberto Ramos, 30, of Roma, Texas; Jose De Jesus Hernandez, 30, a resident alien from Mexico residing in Houston, Texas; Jesus Fabiel Mendoza, 29, of Richmond, Texas; Roberto Eden Moreno, 28, of Palmhurst, Texas; Jaime Herrera, 33, of Edinburg, Texas; John Louis Jordan, 38, of Missouri City, Texas; Darrell Lamelle Wortham, 37, of Missouri City, Texas; Sharletha Woodard, 30, of Houston, Texas; Twandalyn Renique Jordan, 35, of Missouri City, Texas; San Juanita M. Garcia, 55, of Garciasville, Texas; and Tarsila Villarreal Vidal, 37, of Salineno, Texas, have all previously pleaded guilty to at least one count of the indictment and are scheduled for sentencing on June 16, 2009. 

Mayra Trevino Flores, 26, of Houston, and Javier Oscar Solis Garcia, 47, a Mexican citizen from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico, have also pleaded guilty, but are scheduled for sentencing on July 29, 2009. Yanira Barrera, 34, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on April 30 and will also be sentenced on July 29, 2009. 

Eduardo Nicolas Barragan-Balderas, 32, a Mexican citizen from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico; Jose Alonso Barrera, 33, of McAllen, Texas; Luis Fernando Garza Saenz, 33, a Mexican citizen from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico; Sergio Silva Trevino, 25, a Mexican citizen from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico; Aldo Reyes, 32, of Rio Grande City, Texas; Romel Neftali Huerta, 30, of Roma, Texas; and Ricardo Pena Cuellar, 49, of Mission, Texas, are currently fugitives. Warrants remain outstanding for their arrests. Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of these fugitives are asked to contact the McAllen office of the FBI at (956) 984-6300 or the McAllen office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at (956) 992-8400. The indictment remains sealed as to one defendant.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by special agents of the FBI, DEA, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, Houston Police Department and the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case dubbed Operation Carlito’s Weigh is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Toni Trevino.

 

 

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