(CN) – A former Texas state trooper was convicted Wednesday of stealing money from drivers he stopped on the highway. Michael Anthony Higgins targeted Latinos and generally bagged hundreds of dollars, according to federal prosecutors in Corpus Christi. A jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts after deliberating for 30 minutes.
Texas Rangers and the Department of Public Safety nailed Higgins in an undercover operation after receiving complaints, the Justice Department said in a statement. “An undercover officer posed as a civilian of Hispanic descent with limited English language ability. The undercover officer was issued several pre-recorded $100 bills. While being monitored by DPS aerial surveillance, the undercover officer drove past Higgins’ duty area in Kleberg County and was eventually stopped by Higgins. Upon making the traffic stop, Higgins asked the undercover officer for money in his possession and then took the money behind the passenger side door of his patrol vehicle.”
Prosecutors say that Higgins kept some of the money. Texas Rangers and DPS officers confronted him and searched his car and found two of the pre-recorded $100 bills in the passenger side door pocket, next to the area where Higgins had counted the money.
Higgins faces a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison, restitution and a $400,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for April 20.