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Aug. 4, 2011

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Former Pharr Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Bribery

McALLEN, Texas - Jaime Beas, 34 of Pharr, Texas, has been sentenced to 144  months imprisonment for his conviction of extortion under color of official right, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Beas, a former Pharr police officer, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane.

Jaime Beas pleaded guilty to extortion under color of official right (Hobbs Act) on Dec. 22, 2010. 

According to allegations in the indictment and later acknowledged upon his plea of guilty, Beas admitted he agreed to provide protection for a vehicle that he knew contained cocaine in exchange for payment. On three occasions - April 23, May 14 and June 14, 2010 - Beas received a total of $12,000 in exchange for providing protection for a vehicle which the defendant knew contained more than five kilograms of cocaine. Beas used his capacity as a Pharr police officer in the commission of the crime, including using police issued equipment to protect the cocaine as he escorted it through the city of Pharr. At the time of his guilty plea, Beas admitted that on June 14, 2010, he was on duty as a Pharr police officer and knowingly used his police issued vehicle, uniform, badge, radio and firearm to escort approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine through the city of Pharr in order to avoid detection from law enforcement. Beas also admitted that he received approximately $4,000 in United States currency in exchange for his services. Beas was subsequently arrested on July 9, 2010.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Crane noted that in addition to helping to escort cocaine through Pharr, Beas was also involved in the exportation of defense articles into Mexico.  According to the indictment, these defense articles included a grenade, a Romanian AK-47, M-16 rifle and body armor. Previously, Judge Crane noted that Beas was assisted by an uncle that was enlisted with the United States Navy.

Beas was sentenced to 144 months custody with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. Beas has been in federal custody since his arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve his sentence. 

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Wells Jr. prosecuted the case.