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Press Release

Former Alpine Resident Admits Lying to Agents about Creating Fake Racist Message

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In Alpine today, 26-year-old Devon Portillo admitted to lying to FBI agents during an investigation into the source of a racist text message purportedly sent by Portillo’s election opponent, announced U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada, El Paso Division.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David B. Fannin, Portillo pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to a federal agent.  By pleading guilty, Portillo admitted that in June 2020, he was running for election against another candidate when FBI agents interviewed him about a racist social media text falsely attributed to his opponent.  Portillo denied creating the racist text message.  He later contacted the FBI and advised that the text was authored by another individual whom he identified to investigators.  However, in a subsequent interview with FBI agents, Portillo admitted that he had indeed authored the fake text message and that the individual he identified as the author of the text had nothing to do with its creation.

Portillo faces up to five years in federal prison.  He remains on bond pending sentencing. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

The FBI investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Mallory J. Rasmussen is prosecuting this case.


Updated March 5, 2021