Zetas Bagmen Sentenced to a Year
AUSTIN (CN) - Two men were sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in federal prison for trying to bribe a federal judge with $1.2 million in a Los Zetas money laundering case.
Los Zetas, one of Mexico's most murderous drug gangs, split off from U.S.-trained army and police forces in 2010 to wreak havoc upon the country.
In addition to their prison terms, Francisco Colorado Jr., 26, and Ramon Segura Flores, 52, both of Mexico, were each fined $10,000.
The men admitted in March to trying to bribe U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in the trial of Colorado's father, Mexican businessman Francisco Antonio Colorado-Cessa aka Pancho, 53, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Colorado-Cessa had been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in laundering $65 million in Zetas drug money to train and race quarter horses in the United States.
Colorado and Flores have been in federal custody since they were arrested in September 2013. They will be deported after serving their time.
Colorado-Cessa admitted his role in the bribery scheme and is to be sentenced on Oct. 20.
Judge Sparks at no time was involved in any of the criminal activity, prosecutors said.
Undercover officers told the defendants that Sparks could reduce Colorado-Cessa's sentence after an initial payment of $250,000 was delivered, according to the indictment. They were told Sparks would sign a Rule 35 order after Colorado-Cessa's sentencing hearing to reduce his sentence to just 1 year, from the 20-year recommended sentence.
Flores told Walter at sentencing that he would never return to the United States, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
"I declare myself guilty of the charge because I am guilty," Flores said in Spanish. "I just want to return home to support my family and be a good father, husband and son."
Colorado told the judge he wanted to go home to his mother and grandmother.
"I am ashamed of how I offended the law because this is going to affect the rest of my life," Colorado said in Spanish.
Paul Nugent, Flores' attorney, told the Statesman the men are "relieved" to put this behind them.
Flores "feels it was a fair and just resolution," Nugent said.
David Gerger, Colorado's attorney, said Colorado was an engineering student when he was arrested and wants to return to his studies.