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McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas sheriff faces drug charges after a McAllen federal grand jury accused him Tuesday of conspiring to smuggle drugs into the state.
FBI agents arrested Starr County Sheriff Reymundo "Tio" Guerra at his Rio Grande City office on Tuesday after the charges against him were unsealed. He's to appear before a federal magistrate later Tuesday, and prosecutors say they'll seek to keep him in custody without bond.
A Justice Department statement says Guerra's accused with at least 14 other people of participating in a conspiracy to possess cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute.
Starr County sheriff's dispatcher Mauro Moreno tells The Associated Press there was no one available Tuesday to speak about the sheriff's arrest or respond to a message seeking comment. He also said he had no information on whether an attorney had been appointed for Guerra.
TX CHRONICLE
 

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Texas sheriff indicted for drug smuggling

Texas - The sheriff of a rural Texas county next to the Mexican border was arrested at his office Tuesday after being indicted on charges alleging he was involved in a large-scale cocaine and marijuana smuggling operation.
Starr County Sheriff Reymundo Guerra was named in a 19-count indictment along with more than a dozen other people. The south Texas sheriff is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana; accessory after the fact, for an alleged suggestion he made to a co-defendant to use false documents to avoid apprehension; and facilitating the drug trafficking conspiracy through use of a telephone.
The first count alone carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life as well as a $4 million fine.
Guerra was added to the indictment after the FBI searched his Rio Grande City offices in early September.
Guerra appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in McAllen on Tuesday and was ordered temporarily detained pending a hearing Friday on the government's request that he be held without bond until trial, said Angela Dodge, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
It wasn't immediately clear if Guerra had an attorney. His chief deputy will run the department for now, said Starr County Judge Eloy Vera.
"It is very shocking and, of course, very disheartening when something like this happens," Vera said. "I was, I am of the opinion that sheriff Guerra is a very good sheriff."
Few details about the allegations against Guerra have been released, but Vera said it is a blow to the reputation of a county trying to clean up its image.
In 1998, Guerra's predecessor, Sheriff Eugenio "Gene" Falcon Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy after an informant posing as a bail bondsman paid Falcon $11,050 in bribes for inmate referrals.
At least three other sheriffs in nearby counties have been found guilty of drug-related charges since the mid-1990s.

wire Service
 

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Texas Sheriff Indicted on Drug Charge Resigns



The Associated Press

McALLEN, Texas --
The sheriff of a rural Texas county next to the U.S.-Mexico border has resigned after being indicted on federal drug charges.
An attorney for Starr County Sheriff Reymundo Guerra says the sheriff's resignation was submitted during the weekend and was accepted by the county commissioners at an emergency meeting Monday morning.
Guerra faces three counts in an indictment accusing him and 14 other people of involvement in a large-scale cocaine and marijuana smuggling operation.
He pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Defense attorney Philip Hilder said a court ruling was likely Monday on whether Guerra would be granted bail.

Wire Service
 
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