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Press Release

Texas Man Sentenced for Obstructing Federal Hate Crime Investigation

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Carlos Garcia, 29, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for making false statements in connection to the March 8, 2012, assault of a gay African-American man in Corpus Christi, Texas, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Garcia pleaded guilty in January 2016, to one count of false statements to law enforcement.  The sentence was imposed yesterday by U.S. District Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas.  Garcia will also serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.

During his plea hearing, Garcia admitted that he made false statements to the FBI regarding the assault of a gay African-American man.  Garcia denied being present during the assault, when in fact he participated in a portion of the assault.

Garcia is the third and last person to plead guilty in connection to the hate crime.  Co-defendants Jimmy Garza Jr. and Ramiro Serrata Jr. were previously sentenced for their roles in the assault, each receiving 15 year sentences for their conduct.

 During their pleas, Garza and Serrata admitted that they engaged in a protracted assault of a gay, African-American man because of his race and sexual orientation.  Garza and Serrata admitted that they punched and kicked the man and assaulted him with various weapons, including a frying pan, a mug, a sock filled with batteries, a broom and a belt.  Garza also poured bleach onto the victim’s face and into his eyes, and Garza struck the victim in the head with a handgun.

“This defendant lied about the facts of this terrible crime that violated our society’s most basic standards of human decency and dignity,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively prosecute anyone who tries to obstruct justice by lying to law enforcement or covering up criminal activity.”

“Individuals who participate in hate crimes will continue to be the focus of federal criminal investigations in this district and this case illustrates that point,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson.  “We simply will not tolerate the actions of anyone associated with these types of crimes, whether an active participant or one that seeks to hinder our efforts by lying, misleading or otherwise providing false information to law enforcement.  This office will continue to ensure everyone is ultimately held accountable for their actions in federal court.”

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Corpus Christi Resident Agency with assistance from the Corpus Christi Police Department.  It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Nicholas Durham of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruben Perez of the Southern District of Texas.

Updated May 17, 2016

Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 16-337