This Week's Cop Corruption Story: Two Texas Villarreals 10/25/02

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[Editor's Note: Since beginning this continuing series last week, DRCNet has received various nominations and encourages readers to send their local favorites to [email protected]. Schenectady and Dallas, your turn will come! But this week we go deep in the heart of Texas.]

Two unrelated Texas cops named Villarreal went down on drug corruption charges this month. On October 15, a South Texas jury in Floresville found former narc Albert J. Villareal guilty of tampering with records, fabricating evidence, and abusing his authority as a member of the 81st Judicial District Drug Task Force. He faces 10 years in prison.

Villarreal had framed at least two innocent men on bogus cocaine charges and possibly as many as a dozen more, according to trial testimony reported in the San Antonio Express-News. His fall from grace began when a confidential informant approached lawyers for a defendant charged by Villarreal with selling cocaine, telling them that the cocaine had actually been purchased from one of Villarreal's cousins. A subsequent investigation led to a grand jury indictment on 28 counts of tampering, obstruction of justice, abuse of authority and official oppression.

"[Villarreal and his informant] made a lot of drug buys, but not like he put in his report," Wilson County Prosecutor Carrie Moy told the jury. "Sometimes the buys were not even made. If they couldn't make a case, they faked it. Who is going to question it? It is a police officer's word against a drug dealer."

Two days later, a federal jury in San Antonio convicted another Texas drug task force cowboy, Xavier Villarreal, of possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Villarreal, a member of the Central South Texas Narcotics Task Force and a Live Oak County sheriff's deputy, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

According to testimony reported by the Express-News, Villarreal was so desperate for money that he pawned his service revolver, then attempted to enlist a local bail bondsman as a cocaine buyer. Unfortunately (and ironically), the bondman was also moonlighting as a snitch for the task force. In his defense, Villarreal attempted to argue that he was investigating the snitch, but FBI tape recordings suggested otherwise.

"I'm an undercover agent," Villarreal complained. "What they convicted me for here, I've done hundreds of times."

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Issue #260, 10/25/02 Antiprohibitionists Meet at European Parliament in Brussels | Vigilante Drug Bust in Arizona Opens Window into World of Hurt on Mexican Border | Election 2002:00:00 Governor's Races of Interest | Smoke Dope to Fight Chemical Warfare Attacks? Israeli Activists Say Check It Out | This Week's Cop Corruption Story: Two Texas Villarreals | Newsbrief: Federal Court Upholds Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients | Newsbrief: Bill to Ban Salvia Divinorum Introduced | Newsbrief: In Ecuador, Plan Colombia Foe Appears Headed for Presidency | Newsbrief: Feds to Prosecute Ayahuasca Case | Newsbrief: Baltimore Killings Bring More of the Same Old Policies | Newsbrief: Richmond, Virginia Drug Sweep Underway | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Reform Advocates Release Decrim Study as Elections Near | Newsbrief: Oklahoma Uses Civil Suits in War on Meth | Newsbrief: U Missouri SSDP, NORML in Marijuana Petition Drive | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Authorizes Crackdown on Marijuana Growers | Quote of the Week: William Raspberry | Web Scan: DRCNet in the Media, Dan Forbes on Alternet, VoteHemp, Change the Climate, Journey for Justice, Sydney Morning Herald | Job Opportunity: PreventionWorks, Washington, DC | Errata: Polling on San Francisco Proposition S | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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