Being the chief of police in the Valley's Sullivan City is no doubt a prestigious position, but it does have its temptations.
And former chief Hernan Guerra admitted to a federal judge that he gave in to them, working busily to make sure no one caught his colleagues who were bringing massive amounts of weed across the border from Mexico.
Guerra received ten years in federal prison without parole for his role in the scheme, the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston announced today.
Prosecutors said evidence showed that Guerra would man the department's radio to direct his officers away from where the smugglers were; he would also keep the smugglers updated on the whereabouts of the Border Patrol.
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In determining the sentence he ultimately handed down yesterday, Judge [Randy] Crane considered and commented upon Guerra's abuse of his position of trust as the police chief for Sullivan City noting that his conduct undermined the community's faith in law enforcement.
"We agree Guerra's abuse of his position undermines the community's faith in law enforcement," said U.S. Attorney Moreno. "However, we trust this investigation and prosecution serves as a significant step toward restoring that faith. "
Guerra's guilty plea involved conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Others sentenced in the case:
Renato Villalon, 34, of Sullivan City, who was a driver for the organization, was sentenced to 151 months confinement to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.
Felix Gallardo Noyola, 38, of Mexico, whose role in the organization was to ride as a passenger in load vehicles throwing spikes to impede law enforcement vehicles, was sentenced to 80 months imprisonment to be followed by a four-year-term of supervised release.
Noe Salinas, 30, of Sullivan City, a scout for the organization and who maintained a stash house for the organization, was sentenced to 78 months confinement and a four-year-term of supervised release.
Michael Montelongo, 19, also of Sullivan City, whose role included conducting counter-surveillance for law enforcement on the United States side of the border, was sentenced to 60 months confinement as well as a four-year-term of supervised release.
Two scouts for the organization, Juan Carlos Escalera, 30, and Angel Gilberto Martinez, 18, both of Sullivan City, were sentenced to 60 months and 30 months imprisonment, respectively, to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release.
The seventh defendant, Javier Francisco Pena Trevino, 41, of Sullivan City, pleaded guilty on Feb. 11, 2011, admitting his role as a scout for the organization, was also sentenced by Judge Crane yesterday. Trevino will serve a 37-month prison term and a three-year-term of supervised release.