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- 08-04-2012, 08:26 AM #1
TX - Star county casino owner charged in deputy bribery case
Star county casino owner charged in deputy bribery case
August 03, 2012 11:03 AM
By GAIL BURKHARDT/The Monitor
McALLEN— A purported casino owner accused of paying two Starr County deputies to protect his illegal business now faces bribery charges.
Gadiel Villarreal faces two counts of bribery in criminal information filed Thursday in U.S. District Court inMcAllen.
Villarreal gave money to Starr County deputies Nazario Solis III and Jason Munsell to protect his illegal casino, which included eight-liner slot machines, also known as maquinitas, according to court records.
In late March 2011, Villarreal arranged to give $1,100 to Solis and $400 to Munsell in exchange for the protection of his eight-liner business, according to federal court documents.
Solis and Munsell warned Villarreal of an impending raid in late March, allowing the casino owner to remove employees and money from the casino before law enforcement officials arrived.
Federal investigators obtained a recorded conversation of Villarreal, also known as Juanes Matamoros, confirming that he had been warned of the raid, the documents state.
Villarreal is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and at least three years of supervised release, plus a fine of up to $250,000.
The second charge of paying a bribe or reward to an agent of organization receiving federal funds carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years with at least three years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Villarreal’s case was filed as criminal information — rather than an indictment — meaning Villarreal waived his right for a grand jury to decide whether there was sufficient evidence to charge him. Such cases typically indicate that the defendant plans to plead guilty in a deal with the prosecutors.
Solis and Munsell were indicted in July on conspiracy, bribery and extortion charges for allegedly receiving the bribes to protect Villarreal’s gambling business.
Solis also was indicted on three other drug-related offenses. Investigators say Solis traded drugs for guns to send to Mexico.
Star county casino owner charged in deputy bribery case | case, owner, casino - Valley Morning Star
- 08-04-2012, 08:32 AM #2