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.

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

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.

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.

Former state District Judge Evins dies at 93

EDINBURG — Former state District Judge Joseph Benjamin Evins, a respected figure in the Rio Grande Valley legal community who mentored individuals such as...

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

Woman accused of using tribe for fraud gets 6 months

A woman accused of fooling her victims into paying for tribal membership as a way to work legally in the country was sentenced Friday to a six-month prison sentence and one year of supervised release upon completion of the term. Keren Almeida-Cedillo pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor fraud with identification documents, which was brought down from a federal fraud charge, moments before the court sentenced her to the six-month term and supervised release period. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Trial in knock-out punch case reset to March

EDINBURG — The trial for a Mercedes man who is accused of beating to death his brother-in-law will now begin in March after the prosecution and defense agreed to a reset. During a brief hearing Monday, Alfonso Flores Alejandro appeared for what was expected to be the start of his trial in connection with allegations he caused the death of his brother in-law during a family celebration on New Year’s Day 2018. But after Alejandro’s attorney requested a continuance, citing pending medical records crucial to the defense, the court granted the motion and set the trial for March 9 without opposition from state prosecutors. The 41-year-old man is accused of causing the death of Jose Duran, who was married to Alejandro’s sister, Juana Alejandro, in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2018. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Hidalgo woman found with 50 rounds of ammunition

McALLEN — Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered about 50 rounds of ammunition in a Hidalgo woman’s vehicle as she...

Hidalgo woman found with 50 rounds of ammunition

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered about 50 rounds of ammunition in a Hidalgo woman’s vehicle as she attempted to enter into Mexico last week, court records show. Minerva Soto, 47, faces federal ammunition charges after CBP officers discovered the ammunition inside her vehicle on New Year’s Eve as she attempted to cross into Mexico, the complaint against her stated. Soto, driving a white Jeep Wrangler, was stopped at the Hidalgo port of entry and was asked to declare any cash, weapons or ammunition, to which Soto said she didn’t. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Child porn arrest leads to another suspect

The arrest of a Weslaco man led federal agents to a Pharr man accused of receiving and distributing child pornography, records show. Vincent Andrew Gutierrez faces federal child pornography charges after federal agents discovered the material in his possession. Gutierrez, of Pharr, was arrested in early December on two federal charges, receipt of and possession of child pornography, according to the criminal complaint filed against Gutierrez Dec. 19. Read the full story at themonitor.com