Webb County Justice of the Peace Pleads Guilty to Extortion
LAREDO, TX—Ricardo Rangel, justice of the peace for Webb County Precinct 2-Place 2, has been convicted of extortion under color of official right, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson today.
Rangel, 48, of Laredo, admitted that on or about March 25, 2012, he accepted a bribe while he was acting in his official capacity as a justice of the peace. Specifically, he accepted $250 from a bail bondsman in exchange for granting a $1,000 surety bail bond on an individual who had been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña, who accepted the guilty plea, will set sentencing at a later date. At that time, he faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The FBI investigated. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Rodriguez and Roberto Ramirez.