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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Mexican cartel member faces bribery charge

    Alleged Mexican cartel member faces bribery charge

    Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:42 pm

    A member of Mexico's Gulf cartel already serving time in federal prison for threatening to assault and murder agents has been charged in Brownsville with bribery for trying to orchestrate his release and deportation.

    The U.S. Attorney's office announced Thursday that Juan Carlos De La Cruz Reyna and six others spent months negotiating bribes and paid nearly $800,000 to an undercover agent to ensure that he would be transferred to a prison in Texas and then released to allies in Mexico. The 37-year-old De La Cruz was scheduled to be released on his previous conviction later this month.

    Prosecutors say De La Cruz feared he would face other charges in Mexico or be released on another part of the border where he could be vulnerable to abduction by rivals.
    Alleged Mexican cartel member faces bribery charge
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Held without bond: 7 from ICE arrest face judge, to return to court next week

    March 16, 2012 9:41 PM
    THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD

    A U.S. judge has ordered that seven men arrested this week in an alleged bribery scheme connected to the Gulf Cartel be held without bond until they go to court again next week.

    A federal criminal complaint alleges that the men conspired to bribe an undercover agent posing as a corrupt U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

    At the center of the case is Juan Carlos De La Cruz Reyna, 37, who was scheduled to be released from U.S. custody this month after serving a 30-month sentence for threatening to assault and murder U.S. agents.

    Authorities said one of the men charged in the conspiracy began negotiating with the undercover agent last May to release De La Cruz to members of the Gulf Cartel instead of to Mexican authorities.

    Arrested Wednesday were Julio Torres, 39, of Brownsville; Carlos Melo, 38, of Brownsville; Adalberto Nunez-Venegas, 39, of Mexico; Gaspar Montes Martinez, 41, of Harlingen; Juan Trejo Venegas, 33, of Matamoros; and Jose C. Venegas Esquivel, 36, of Brownsville.

    De La Cruz Reyna was rearrested in prison, presumably in Bayview, where he was taken on March 9, court documents say. Before that he was in a federal prison in Atlanta.

    Montes, Trejo Venegas and Venegas Esquivel went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan Friday morning for an initial appearance.

    They faced the judge standing in a line, handcuffed, unshaven and wearing jeans. Each asked for a court-appointed attorney. Family members were present for the proceedings.

    De La Cruz, Melo, Torres and Nunez-Venegas had an initial appearance before Morgan Thursday.

    Officials said the men were arrested Wednesday night.

    Eyewitnesses have reported that ICE agents, with weapons drawn, appeared at Wings-Pizza-N-Things on North Expressway in Brownsville and took a group of men sitting on the patio into custody.

    Court documents detail a 10-month investigation into what authorities say was a bribery scheme, with the men accused of engaging in numerous negotiations with the undercover agent, offering him about $1 million.

    The criminal complaint states that negotiations included a stipulation that De La Cruz be moved to a detention facility in Texas.

    Authorities said De La Cruz believed he would face criminal charges in Mexico if transferred to authorities there, and also feared he might be kidnapped by a rival cartel.

    A press release from the U.S. attorney’s office said undercover agent received eight cash payments totaling almost $550,000, and also was given six real estate properties as collateral for the remaining amount owed, about $460,000.

    The men are scheduled to appear before Morgan Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.

    7 from ICE arrest face judge, to return to court next week | cruz, venegas, authorities - Held without bond - Brownsville Herald
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    I.C.E. News Release

    April 23, 2012
    Brownsville, TX

    Gulf Cartel member, 3 others plead guilty to bribing a public official

    BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A member of the notorious Gulf Cartel pleaded guilty Monday to bribing a public official, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the FBI and the Brownsville Police Department.

    Juan Carlos De La Cruz Reyna, 37, and the following three of his associates pleaded guilty to bribing a public official; Adalberto Nunez Venegas, 39, Juan Trejo Venegas, 33 and Jose Cruz Venegas Esquivel, 36.

    The charges were filed as De La Cruz Reyna was set to be released from federal prison after serving 30 months for a previous conviction related to an assault against federal agents in Matamoros, Mexico, in November 1999. Those assaults were conducted at the direction of Osiel Cardenas Guillen who was then leader of the Gulf Cartel.

    Most deportable aliens, after they completed their prison sentences, would have been returned to Mexican authorities at either a U.S.-Mexico port of entry at the border or flown to the interior of Mexico. However, De La Cruz Reyna feared being prosecuted by Mexican authorities or being kidnapped by a rival drug cartel. He admitted Monday that he bribed a federal official in an attempt to ensure safe passage to Mexico. Through the co-conspirators, De La Cruz Reyna made a total of $797,000 in bribe payments over the course of the scheme.

    According to court documents, in early to mid-2011, Nunez Venegas and another co-conspirator began negotiating with an undercover HSI special agent. They thought the special agent was a corrupt official that could help ensure safe passage for De La Cruz Reyna. De La Cruz Reyna's co-conspirators met the undercover special agent on numerous occasions from May 2011 to March 2012 and made several bribe payments. During this period, De La Cruz Reyna admitted he spoke with the special agent from prison on numerous occasions about bribery payments to negotiate his release. He also admitted talking with another special agent in Atlanta, Ga., on two occasions to discuss his covert removal to Mexico.

    The overall bribery scheme primarily involved these conditions; obtaining De La Cruz Reyna's unannounced removal to Mexico and release to elements of the Gulf Cartel, and avoiding official notification and transfer to the appropriate Mexican federal law enforcement authorities. The bribery scheme also involved allowing individuals to visit him while he was in the Atlanta prison.

    After De La Cruz Reyna was transferred to the Rio Grande Valley in preparation for his supposed release to elements of the Gulf Cartel, several of the conspirators, including De La Cruz Reyna and Nunez Venegas, met with the special agent and discussed the final bribe payment. At that time, the special agent was wearing his official credentials clearly indicating he was a federal law enforcement official.

    On March 13, 2012, Nunez Venegas, Trejo Venegas and another alleged conspirator met with the undercover special agent and made the final payment. The next day, Nunez Venegas, Trejo Venegas, Venegas Esquivel and other alleged conspirators met with the special agent to discuss the final arrangements and each person's role in the operation, at which time they were all arrested. De La Cruz Reyna was also arrested on that date.

    The cases against others charged in relation to this conspiracy are still pending. They are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

    De La Cruz Reyna and those that pleaded guilty Monday will remain in federal custody pending their sentencing hearings set for July 30, at which time they each face up to 15 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine, and up to a three-year term of supervised release.

    Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jody Young and Angel Castro, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

    ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form.

    U.S. Dept of Homeland Security

    Gulf Cartel member, 3 others plead guilty to bribing a public official
    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

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