After pleading guilty to drug charges, a former Texas police officer was recently sentenced to 130 months in federal prison for assisting members of a “rip crew” that stole narcotics during fraudulent traffic stops. The former cop is the eighth of the 20 defendants to have been sentenced.
In January 2016, Donna Independent School District (ISD) Police Officer Juan Fernando Mata assisted members of the “rip” crew named Los Mikis by conducting fraudulent traffic stops on vehicles loaded with drugs. According to court records, Mata helped the rip crew in stealing more than nine kilograms of cocaine.
In May 2017, Mata assisted in stealing approximately 400 pounds of marijuana from drug load vehicles. According to the initial indictment, Mata was charged along with Marin “Filtro” Macrin Cerda, Jose Miguel “El Mickey” Montemayor, Cesar Alejandro “Nucho” Tovar-Guillén (or “El Sobrino”), and former Hidalgo County bailiff Oscar De La Cruz.
On January 9, Mata pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining two counts, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to import narcotics.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Mata to serve 130 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release. Mata has become the eighth of the 20 defendants to have been sentenced.
Juan Antonio “Paisa” Flores, Francisco Javier Montemayor, Marlyn Gonzalez, Arturo Vargas, Jorge Antonio Calvo-Ayala, Danny Cano, and Moises Delevi have all been sentenced in connection with the case.
Additional defendants who pleaded guilty and are also pending sentencing include Jose “Coco” Garcia-De La Torre, Carlos Guadalupe “Tomy” Aquino-Pacheco, Alfredo “Chore” Avalos-Sanchez, Gustavo Angel “Tripa” De Leon-Covarrubias, Jose Arturo “Gordo” Reyes-Sanchez, Robert Lee Rodriguez, and Cesar Alejandro “Nucho” Tovar-Guillén.
On January 4, former Hidalgo County bailiff Oscar De La Cruz pled guilty to his own conspiracy charge and is scheduled to be sentenced this summer.