Former Webb County Deputy Constable Sentenced to Five Years
|Feb. 2, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas - Eduardo Garcia, a former Webb County Deputy Constable, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for interference with commerce under color of official right, a violation of the Hobbs Act, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
On Sept. 28, 2011, Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce under color of official right, admitting he escorted a vehicle he believed to have been loaded with one kilogram of cocaine. On Oct. 22, 2011, Garcia, driving a Webb County Prisoner transport van, met and followed the “load vehicle” driven by a confidential source from the “Los Presidentes” area on Loop 20 to the Doctor’s Hospital parking lot in Laredo. At the conclusion of the escort, Garcia was paid $500 in cash. At the time, Garcia was wearing his law enforcement badge on his belt.
Garcia also escorted another vehicle he believed had been loaded with one kilogram of cocaine on Nov. 21, 2008. Driving his personal vehicle, Garcia escorted a vehicle which he believed to be carrying approximately one kilogram of cocaine starting from the Conoco gas station near the intersection of Loop 20 and Highway 359 in Laredo. During the escort, Garcia called the confidential source to warn him that there was a suspicious vehicle in the area and to advise to exit Loop 20. However, the confidential source continued to drive the pre-planned route and, at the conclusion of the escort, once again paid Garcia $500 in cash.
In actuality, the vehicle had been loaded with a “brick” of sham cocaine on both occasions. Garcia’s job during the escorts was to keep an eye out for legitimate law enforcement which would be identified as “uglies” or “bad guys,” and to alert the driver of the load vehicle.
Today, U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen sentenced him to 60 months imprisonment to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release in addition to a $3,000 fine. Garcia was allowed to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roberto F. Ramirez and Elizabeth R. Rabe.