McALLEN, TEXAS - Federal agents arrested a Duval County deputy sheriff accused of setting up a fake traffic stop to allow cocaine smugglers move a load past a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Ruben Silva, 35, a sheriff’s deputy in Duval County, on one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Also arrested were the alleged drug smugglers, brothers Jerry and Jose Luis Tovar, both of rural Mission.
An informant met with Silva while at Jerry Tovar’s home on the 6300 block of North Schuerbach Road, where Silva said he would conduct a fake traffic stop, seize 10 kilograms of cocaine and drive it past the Border Patrol checkpoint, a criminal complaint states.
Silva told the informant to have $5,000 in cash that he would collect during the fake traffic stop, the complaint states. Silva would then pick up the 10 kilos of coke from Jerry Tovar and smuggle it through the Border Patrol checkpoint in a tire on his Duval County patrol vehicle. Then, the informant would be able to pick up the drugs at Silva’s home in Freer.
Two undercover agents on Monday met with Tovar at Taqueria Don Felipe, at the intersection of 5 Mile Line and La Homa Road, where they provided photos of the vehicles to be used in the fake traffic stop and sent them to Silva. The undercover agents and the informant then drove to Hebbronville in two vehicles.
Silva and another unnamed man stopped the two vehicles along Highway 16, where Silva collected the $5,000.
Agents arrested Tovar and Mike Lara, who is accused of attempting to collect 6 kilograms of cocaine, on Thursday near Mission.
Jerry and Jose Luis Tovar also face charges of selling six firearms to an undercover federal agent, a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release states. At least two of the weapons were Uzi-style submachine guns. Both Tovar brothers are convicted felons prohibited from possessing firearms.
Silva faces between 10 years and life in prison and a fine of up to $20 million, if convicted.
The Tovar brothers each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the firearms charges.
All three men appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos on Friday in federal court in McAllen. They remain in custody without bail.