Former Justice of the Peace and Bail Bondsman Sentenced on Federal Extortion Charges
LAREDO, TX—A former Webb County justice of the peace (JP) and a former bail bondsman have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of conspiracy and extortion under color of official right, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Former Webb County Precinct 2, Place 2, JP Ricardo Rangel, 49, pleaded guilty Sept. 4, 2014, while former bail bondsman Juan Enrique Rodriguez, 36, entered his plea Dec. 17, 2014.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered Rangel, of Laredo, to serve 37 months in federal prison, while Rodriguez, also of Laredo, was sentenced to a 13-month-term. They will both be required to serve three years of supervised release following completion of their sentences. The court found Rangel had received multiple bribes and was a public official in a high-level decision making or sensitive position at the time he committed the crime and that Rodriguez had paid multiple bribes to have Rangel reduce bonds of criminal defendants. Rangel and Rodriguez were also ordered to pay fines in the amount of $5,000 and $15,000, respectfully.
The investigation established that on or about March 25, 2012, Rangel, while performing his duties as a JP, did knowingly and unlawfully accept $250 not due him or his office from Rodriguez. In turn, Rangel granted a $1,000 surety bail bond on an individual who had been arrested and charged with the Texas State criminal offense of driving while intoxicated.
Both were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Rodriguez and Roberto Ramirez prosecuted the case.