Judge Limas Public Corruption Investigation Nets Another Guilty Plea
|Dec. 13, 2011|
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Another defendant has entered a guilty plea in the FBI’s public corruption investigation of former 404th District Court Judge Abel Corral Limas, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Jaime Munivez, 47, a United States citizen residing in San Benito, Texas, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen to two counts of interference with commerce under color of official right - or extortion - as alleged in an indictment returned July 19, 2011.
At today’s hearing, Munivez, a criminal investigator for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office until May 9, 2011, admitted to his role in the creation of certain documents, that is, a fraudulent drug money seizure document and a charging warrant both prepared for Jose Manuel “Meme” Longoria. Munivez also admitted to providing information on a murder case in return for a bicycle. The recitation of evidence to the court indicated that as part of the public corruption investigation on Judge Limas, agents learned Munivez was also involved in criminal activity with Longoria.
In the first incident, which was charged as count three of the extortion by Munivez, agents conducted an undercover operation in which Munivez ultimately met with Longoria and provided a document titled “Article 59.03 Statement of Seized Property” indicating $200,000 was seized on “11/20/07" by an investigator with the DA’s office. The document was provided in return for payment of money. Longoria received approximately $10,000 and paid a portion of this amount to Munivez.
In a second incident, charged as count five, in early 2008, Longoria arranged for Munivez to meet a fugitive in Matamoros, Mexico, and provided information on his pending murder case. Longoria then arranged for a bicycle, valued at $274, to be given to Munivez in return for meeting with the fugitive. Agents conducting surveillance observed Longoria and Munivez arrive at and enter Bicycle World in Brownsville. On Jan. 23. 2008, Munivez picked up the bicycle which had been paid for by the fugitive. FBI agents later recovered the bicycle at the time of Munivez’s arrest.
In another incident, Munivez, assisted by both Longoria and another individual, admitted to aiding and abetting the extortion of money from a person for whom they told had a charge/arrest warrant outstanding. Longoria extorted the money while Munivez created the fraudulent warrant document to show to the individual. In return for the money, Longoria promised the warrant would “disappear.”
Both Longoria and Limas have previously entered guilty pleas to extortion violations and are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27, 2012, and March 13, 2012, respectively. To date, a total of eight defendants have entered guilty pleas in relation to the Limas investigation.
Sentencing is set before Judge Hanen on March 19, 2012. At that time, Munivez faces a maximum 20-year prison term, a fine of up to $250,000 and five years of supervised release for each count of conviction. Following his guilty plea today, Munivez was allowed to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing.
The charges in relation to this case are the result of an ongoing three-year investigation being conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Brownsville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Wynne and Oscar Ponce are prosecuting the case.