Former Sheriff, Fifth-Grade Teacher Sentenced in Drug Conspiracy


McAllen, Texas—Among the eleven people who were sentenced this week for their involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy were an elementary school teacher and a former sheriff.

Former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo “Rey” Guerra to 64 months in federal prison, as well as four years of supervision upon his release, for having helped Mexican drug smugglers transport drugs through his county. In exchange, he reportedly received thousands of dollars in bribes. He was called a “minor participant” in the entire conspiracy, which has resulted in 28 indictments to date.

Lead defendant Jose Carlos Hinojosa apparently gave Guerra one bribe of $3,000, and another that may have been as much as $5,000, although authorities are unsure of the total amount of payments. Guerra then gave information to Hinojosa, including information regarding where extra law enforcement patrols would be stationed, so that the smugglers could steer clear of those areas. Additionally, on at least one occasion Guerra provided false information in order to enable a deputy to close a drug trafficking case.

Hinojosa, who once worked in Mexican law enforcement and who later turned corrupt and began worked for the brutal Gulf Cartel enforcers known as the Zetas, is still awaiting sentencing.

Guerra, 52, had admitted his guilt early on and cooperated fully with authorities, said U.S. District Judge Randy Crane. After pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute narcotics in May, he received a lighter sentence than the eight to 10 years recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

The conspiracy moved both cocaine and marijuana from Mexico throughout the United States, some of the drugs ending up as far away as Delaware. Included in the conspiracy were people who organized the cross-border smuggling operations, drivers who transported the drugs to Houston and returned with cash, and distributors who mailed drugs to customers across the country.

Also netted in the wide-ranging indictment were Houston schoolteacher Sharletha Woodard and her boyfriend, John Louis Jordan. Woodard, a fifth grade teacher who also held a Master’s degree, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison. Authorities say she received packages of cocaine and then mailed them to Jordan, who received a 15-year sentence.

Before Woodard’s sentencing, Crane said that “one of the lessons [of this case] is that nobody’s above the law.”

According to the Associated Press, more than 80 American law enforcement officers – all of whom worked on the United States-Mexico border at the local, state or federal level – have been convicted on charges of corruption.


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