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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Two Sentenced for Conspiring to Rob Drug Money from Undercover Agent

McALLEN, Texas – Two illegal aliens residing in Pharr have been ordered to federal prison for 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, 28, admitted they conspired to rob an undercover agent. Acosta-Moctezuma also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of conspiring to export defense articles. 

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez imposed a 107-month sentence for Acosta-Moctezuma, while Villa-Reyes was ordered to serve 103 months. Not U.S. citizens, both are expected to face deportation proceedings following their sentences. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that while no one was hurt in this case, there is a bad problem south of the border with violence drug cartels commit and that she is seeing more of that violence being imported here. She noted those concerns and the fact that the crime occurred in a public place.

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. 

In the unrelated case involving the conspiracy to export defense articles, Acosta-Moctezuma admitted to supplying a .223 rifle to an undercover agent posing as a buyer who was going to smuggle the rifle to Mexico. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison on that case, to run concurrent with the robbery charge.

Both men will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.   

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of the 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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated May 2, 2018