Bond denied for Starr Co. man in drug conspiracy case

McALLEN — A Starr County man facing drug conspiracy charges was denied bond last week during a detention hearing, records show.

Rene Sepulveda, who made his initial appearance in federal court related to his arrest in Starr County in connection with a drug smuggling investigation April 9, was denied bond during a detention hearing April 16, records show.

In addition to Rene Sepulveda, Jose Jesus Medina-Anaya and Joshua Islas were also charged in connection with the investigation that began at the end of March.

His arrest is the result of an investigation that began March 30, in which agents received information indicating Rene Sepulveda and his brother, Luis Sepulveda, were using a Honda pickup truck to move narcotics out of Starr County.

Over the course of a week, agents surveilled Rene Sepulveda and others and ultimately arrested Rene Sepulveda on April 7, records show.

Rene Sepulveda was also implicated in a separate federal investigation related to federal property that was allegedly destroyed.

That case allegedly includes Rene Sepulveda, his other brother, Daniel Sepulveda, and the alleged leader of a drug trafficking organization, Jose Luis Garcia.

Rene Sepulveda’s implication into the case came about after the U.S. Border Patrol, along with other law enforcement agencies, served a search warrant at two residences in Rio Grande City that allegedly were used by members of the Garcia drug trafficking organization — the first at 25 Midway Road and the other at 39 Alegria Circle, records show.

On that day, Aug. 30, 2019, law enforcement encountered Rene and Daniel Sepulveda, brothers identified as members of the Garcia drug trafficking organization, at the Midway address.

During the search, agents discovered more than $83,000 in bulk cash, 15 firearms and two of Daniel Sepulveda’s cellphones.

“Upon seizing his phones, Daniel Sepulveda confronted a (DEA agent). Speaking in an aggressive tone, Daniel Sepulveda stated that he wanted DEA to take down the DEA’s cameras located on a telephone pole across the street from Daniel Sepulveda’s house and on a telephone pole located at the intersection of Midway Road and Expressway 83,” the complaint stated.

The DEA agent told Daniel Sepulveda that “they were not DEA’s cameras,” but Daniel responded stating he knew they were because he had asked someone at the electric company.

“At that time, Rene Sepulveda stated it was against (his) and Daniel Sepulveda’s constitutional rights to be watched by the government. (The DEA agent) relayed to other agents in the proximity that he observed Daniel Sepulveda was agitated and upset about the search warrant conducted at (his) residence and law enforcement cameras on Midway Road,” the document stated.

At the other residence, 39 Alegria Circle, agents encountered Garcia, identified by agents as the head of the Garcia drug trafficking organization, and Daniela Ruiz.

In his drug conspiracy charge case, Rene Sepulveda is scheduled for a conflict of interest hearing Wednesday, records show.