TEXAS, USA: FORMER PARALEGAL SPECIALIST (Jennifer Loya) IN USA DOJ OFFICE IN SAN ANTONIO Sentenced (5 Years Of Probation) For Divulging Sensitive Information To Narco Traffickers
A former paralegal specialist in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation for lying to federal agents about divulging sensitive law enforcement information to drug smugglers linked to Mexican cartels.
Jennifer Loya, 31, was arrested last year by agents with the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The feds had been investigating traffickers that included Roland Gustamante, who is married to her sister.
The investigation found that Gustamante and his group were tied to other traffickers and Mexican cartels and that Gustamante had inside information that Loya saw in the course of her job.
Initially charged as part of the conspiracy, Loya pleaded guilty in April to making a false statement. She admitted that, on May 7, 2020, when the FBI and DEA questioned her, she falsely denied passing on any sensitive information to her sister.
Loya admitted that she did tell her sister, Kimberly Loya, that the feds were coming after Gustamante and that she should leave the trafficker. Jennifer Loya did not know her sister would tell Gustamante nor that she was entrenched in the drug organization, Jennifer Loya’s lawyer, John Convery, told U.S. District Judge Fred Biery.
The judge admonished Jennifer Loya for breaching the trust of the government.
“I’m sorry for breaking your trust,” Jennifer Loya told employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office who attended her sentencing. “That was never my intent. It was just to get my sister away and safe.”
Jennifer Loya began working with the office in San Antonio as a legal assistant in 2017, and was promoted to paralegal specialist in February 2020, making about $60,000 a year. She resigned after her arrest, losing her salary, medical benefits and was trying to earn a bachelor’s degree so she could attend law school and become a lawyer, Convery said.
Prosecutor Robert Searls Johnson asked the judge to sentence Jennifer Loya to one year and one day, saying Loya might have obstructed justice because her information helped out drug dealers. One cooperating defendant told investigators that Gustamante texted him shortly before his arrest so that he could get rid of drugs before a raid.
“The DEA din’t find the drugs they expected to find,” Johnson told Biery.
Convery urged the judge to follow the recommended sentencing guideline of zero to six months, a range that allowed for probation. The defense lawyer argued that Loya’s information was not specific or detailed and only meant to “help her sister, not to do anything bad against the United States.”
Kimberly Loya faces sentencing Aug. 31 for her guilty plea to money laundering conspiracy. She admitted she transported drug proceeds from San Antonio to Laredo for the group.
Gustamante pleaded guilty to drug-trafficking conspiracy in December, and Biery sentenced him on April 8 to more than 16 years in federal prison. Others related to the investigation also have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. The once close sisters no longer talk to each other.
BACKGROUND: Paralegal with U.S. Attorney’s Office arrested, accused of tipping off Mexican drug cartel
SAN ANTONIO – A paralegal specialist in the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been arrested and accused of helping out the Mexican drug cartel.
Jennifer Loya, who has worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio since March 2017, is facing multiple federal charges. Loya is accused of using electronic surveillance made available to her through her job to tip off various investigations.
According to federal court documents, Loya’s sister, Kimberley, is married to Roland Gustamante, an associate of Israel Fernandez-Vasquez, who is a leader in the Cartel del Noreste (CDN).
Although Fernandez-Vasquez was deported in May 2018, he allegedly still operates in San Antonio out of Monterrey, Mexico. From Monterrey, Fernandez-Vasquez allegedly smuggles large amounts of cocaine, heroin and meth into the U.S., specifically in San Antonio.
Gustamante and his wife Kimberley operate in San Antonio, and take money back to Fernandez-Vasquez.
According to court documents, Kimberley Loya would use a vehicle registered to her sister to take drug money to and from Mexico.
FBI agents say the vehicle crossed the U.S. border into Mexico 21 times from May 2019 to Jan. 2020.
FBI San Antonio agents say they believe Jennifer Loya has been helping out Gustamante and his associates, who allegedly run drugs through San Antonio, with inside information regarding federal investigations in which they are named.
FBI agents became particularly interested in Jennifer Loya when they would go to make arrests on specific drug trafficking operations (DTO) in San Antonio. At one point, a member of one DTO said he knew the agent was coming for him and it ‘appeared the drugs had been moved overnight,’ according to court records.
Other members of the operation agents say they interviewed didn’t specifically name Loya, but did say Gustamante knew someone working for the U.S. government who provided him with information pertaining to the investigations.
Loya allegedly also printed out documents relating to these investigations while at work, according to the court records.
Loya is facing charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing meth, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
We have reached out to Loya’s attorney, who did not respond.
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