USAO employee indicted for conspiring to obstruct justice
HOUSTON – A federal grand jury sitting in Austin has returned a six-count indictment against a 31-year-old paralegal specialist with the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Western District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
Jennifer Loya is charged with drug trafficking crimes, conspiring to obstruct justice and making a false statement to federal law enforcement officers. Also charged are Roland Gustamante, 30, his wife Kimberly Loya, 27, and Nathan Lopez, 27. All are from San Antonio.
Gustamante allegedly imported drugs from Mexico, sold them in the San Antonio area and transported proceeds back to suppliers in Mexico. Kimberly Loya served as a courier for Gustamante’s drug trafficking organization, according to the indictment, while Lopez was an associate of the Gustamante drug trafficking organization. Jennifer Loya is Kimberly’s sister.
Gustamante, Lopez and Kimberly Loya are charged with conspiring to distribute heroin and meth. Gustamante is also charged with possessing with the intent to distribute meth and with engaging in an international money laundering conspiracy with Kimberly Loya.
According to the indictment, Jennifer Loya worked in the San Antonio USAO. There, she allegedly learned confidential law enforcement information related to federal drug trafficking investigations including the identity of investigation targets, cooperating witnesses and defendants as well as planned dates for charging and arresting defendants. The indictment alleges she shared this information with her sister who then relayed it to her husband. Gustamante used the information to evade law enforcement and to warn his fellow drug traffickers about impending law enforcement actions, according to the charges,
Federal authorities allegedly confronted Jennifer Loya about her activities, at which time she allegedly concealed that she had previously revealed to her sister that Gustamante was under federal investigation for drug trafficking.
All had previously been charged by criminal complaint. Gustamante was ordered into custody, while the Loya sisters were premitted release upon posting bond. They are all expected to appear again before a U.S. magistrate judge in San Abntonio the near future.
If convicted, all four face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for the drug trafficking charges. In addition, Gustamante and Kimberly Loya face up to 20 years for the international money laundering conspiracy. Jennifer Loya faces up to five years for the conspiracy to obstruct justice and for the false statement charge.
The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice - Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Johnson is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.