Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

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Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro covers immigration and federal courts for The Monitor. He can be reached at lzazueta@themonitor.com or (956) 683-4452.

Records: Convicted gang member sent lewd photos to child

A previously convicted gang member faces federal child porn charges after he allegedly sent explicit photos to a minor, records show. On Tuesday, a court remanded Lee Roy Huerta Guerrero into federal custody pending a detention hearing Friday after a brief initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis. The court also made a motion to have a federal public defender assigned to Huerta. According to the criminal complaint filed on behalf of the U.S. government Monday, Huerta sent sexually explicit photos to and solicited a picture from a child, according to information gathered by federal agents. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Mexican man gets lengthy prison sentence for trying to move meth

A Mexican man was sentenced last week to a 210-month prison sentence for his part in attempting to smuggle more than 40 kilos of methamphetamine into the country, records show. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Ramon Torres-Zurita on Jan. 14 to more than 17 years in prison nearly three months after he agreed to plead guilty to import of a controlled substance. The case is related to an attempt to enter the country in August 2019. Torres was arrested on Aug. 24, 2019 after attempting to enter the country at the port of entry in Rio Grande City when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer noted the Mexican man had been flagged in the computer system as someone known to associate with drug traffickers, the complaint against Torres stated. Read the full story at themonitor.com

McAllen gunrunner sentenced to nearly 4 years

A McAllen man involved in a scheme to transport high-capacity weapons into Mexico will spend more than three years in prison for the crime, court records show. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Mauricio Martell to a 46-month prison sentence Tuesday for his role in purchasing weapons headed to Mexico. Weapons and ammunition, like the ones involved in this case, purchased legally and illegally in the U.S. are often smuggled into Mexico and end up in the hands of criminals, exacerbating the violence perpetrated by drug cartel organizations as a result of the drug trade. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

FBI informant who stole from handlers gets sentenced

An Edinburg man was sentenced this week to time served for trying to steal $15,000 in cash while working as an informant during a drug operation, records show. Abdiel Pauline Sosa remains in custody at the Hidalgo County Jail on pending state charges after being released from federal custody Wednesday. Sosa, 24, was arrested in connection with federal public funds, property or records charges after he admitted to federal agents he tried to steal money that federal agents provided to him as part of his work as an informant in a drug case investigation. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Reynosa man gets nearly 4 years in cocaine smuggling case

A Mexican man was sentenced in federal court Monday for his role in a scheme to transport several kilos of cocaine, records show. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Antonio Martinez-Vargas to a 46-month sentence during a hearing Monday related to Martinez’s role in a scheme to bring more than 22 kilos of cocaine into the country. Martinez was arrested in July 2019 attempting to enter the United States through the Rio Grande City port of entry, and driving a vehicle displaying Mexican license plates. Read the full story at themonitor.com

46-month sentence handed down in ammo smuggling case

A man who attempted to smuggle several hundreds of rounds of ammunition into Mexico faced his punishment Tuesday during a sentencing hearing. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Luis Arnoldo Curiel-Treviño to a 46-month prison sentence for his role in a July 2019 attempt to enter into Mexico with 800 rounds of ammunition, court records show. The 58-year-old man was arrested July 17, 2019, at the Hidalgo port of entry as he attempted to cross into Mexico and after he was referred for a secondary inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the port. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Bond reduction hearing reset for San Juan murder suspect

A San Juan man who is one of five suspects facing murder charges had his bond hearing reset Thursday during a brief hearing inside the 370th state District Court. State District Judge Noe Gonzalez denied Armando Adrian Arebalo’s attorney’s motion for a bond reduction after the state, represented by Vance Gonzales and Mauricio A. Martinez, announced that federal agents had placed a hold on Arebalo on a pending drug case. Gonzalez said if and when Arebalo has a bond set in the federal case, he would consider setting a bond in his state case. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Court defers prison time for San Juan man in deadly accident case

A court will allow a San Juan man who struck and killed a bicyclist in late 2017 to serve 90 days in jail before being released on an eight-year deferred adjudication. That decision from the court came Wednesday during Andrew Isaiah Villarreal’s sentencing hearing. The 22-year-old man’s attorney, O. Rene Flores, put some items on the record prior to the sentencing, most importantly the results of a drug test administered Dec. 17, 2019, after the last drug test came back positive for cocaine that led to Villarreal’s bond being revoked temporarily. Flores said that result was in fact a false positive; but the new result, which covers a period of 90 days going back to Sept. 17, did not account for a positive result in August, the state’s prosecutor, Andrew Almaguer, told the court. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Longtime jurist dies

Former state District Judge Joseph Benjamin Evins, a respected figure in the Rio Grande Valley legal community who mentored individuals such as former Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, died Tuesday morning at the age of 93. A longtime Edinburg resident, Evins was a lifelong public servant who retired from the 206th state district court more than 20 years ago. He began his career as an attorney and held several positions within the county before his appointment to the court in 1973. Raised in Edinburg, Evins, one of eight children born to Mary Jane Beck and John Evins, began helping his family make ends meet as a farmworker, working the South Texas fields as a fruit and vegetable grader and packer. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Court warns Mission man of contacting sex assault accusers

A Mission man facing charges of sexual assault of a minor related to a broader human trafficking case was warned about making contact with alleged victims involved in the case. During a pretrial hearing in Mario Ruiz’s courtroom; state prosecutors advised the court that Genaro Fuentes’ wife had made contact with at least one victim connected to the case against Fuentes. Fuentes, his mother Rita Martinez Moreno, and two other men are accused of sexually abusing minor children while they worked at a rural Mission bar owned by Martinez, and where Fuentes was an employee. Read the full story at themonitor.com