A former Texas sheriff was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison Thursday for helping Mexican smugglers move drugs through his county on the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes.That Guerra will never work in law enforcement again is comforting, but how many more officers are out there on the take is anybody's guess.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo "Rey" Guerra to 64 months in prison and four years of supervised release. The sentence was less than the eight to 10 years recommended under federal sentencing guidelines, but Guerra admitted his guilt early and cooperated with authorities, Crane said.
FBI agents arrested Guerra at his office in October. Prosecutors termed Guerra a "minor participant" in a drug trafficking conspiracy busted by operation "Carlito's Weigh." Twenty-eight people have been indicted so far in the investigation stretching from South Texas to Houston and into Mexico.
Prosecutors say Guerra made it easier for people tied to the Gulf Cartel to move drugs into the United States and, at least once, intervened in one of his own department's investigations to try to throw deputies off. He pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to distribute narcotics.
See related Grits posts:
- Elected Sheriff receiving border security funds allegedly worked for Gulf Cartel
- McAllen probation officer screened job applicants for drug cartel
- Cartel violence so far stays in Mexico but corruption has crossed the river
- Better border strategies needed for journalist, witness protection, unmasking corruption
- Border Corruption Runs Amok
- Border corruption hinders border security
- What do we know about US-side cartel infrastrucure?