Two Convicted of Conspiring to Rob Drug Money from Undercover Agent
McALLEN, Texas – Two illegal aliens residing in Pharr have entered guilty pleas to conspiring to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and to carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Rogelio Acosta-Moctezuma, 39, and Jose Israel Villa-Reyes, 27, admitted they conspired to rob an undercover agent. Acosta-Moctezuma also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of conspiring to export defense articles.
On Feb. 1, 2017, a confidential informant negotiated the purchase of two kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of methamphetamine for $60,000. The informant arrived at a parking lot in Pharr with an undercover agent to meet with Acosta-Moctezuma and Villa-Reyes and pick up the narcotics.
Shortly after their arrival, the agent said he was going to call for the delivery of the money. While on the phone, Acosta-Moctezuma exited the vehicle and approached the agent, at which time law enforcement arrested him. A pistol was in his waistband, which he admitted was given to him for the purpose of meeting with the buyers. Villa-Reyes remained in the vehicle, but was also found with a pistol.
The packages they brought to the transaction revealed the presence of Styrofoam and another substance, but no narcotics.
Both admitted they went to the meeting with the weapons not to sell drugs but to steal the $60,000.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez accepted the pleas today and set sentencing for April 19, 2018. At that time, both face up to 20 years imprisonment for the conspiracy as well as a mandatory five years for the firearms charge that must be served consecutively.
Acosta also faces up to 20 years for the conspiracy to export defense articles. In that case, he admitted to supplying a .223 rifle to an undercover agent posing as a buyer who was going to smuggle the rifle to Mexico.
Both men will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Evidence Collection Team and the Pharr Police Department. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the unrelated defense articles investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard is prosecuting the case.