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Deputy US Marshal charged with disclosing identity of undercover special agent during ongoing investigation

MCALLEN, Texas — A deputy U.S. Marshal was arrested Tuesday and charged with disclosing the identity of an undercover agent who infiltrated a Starr County drug trafficking organization. The arrest and charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General, and the FBI.

A federal criminal complaint was filed Dec. 4 against Deputy U.S. Marshal Lucio Osbaldo Moya, 29, of Rio Grande City. He is charged with being an accessory after the fact, and obstruction of a proceeding. He was arrested and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos Dec. 4. He is set to appear again Tuesday afternoon for a bond hearing.

According to court documents, in June 2011, an HSI special agent posed as a tractor-trailer driver and agreed to transport 1,800 pounds of marijuana in return for $50,000 for Francisco Javier Treviňo, 29, of Mission, and Lauro Arturo Treviňo Sr., 60, of Roma, Texas. That shipment was eventually seized by special agents. But Treviňo Sr. later contacted the undercover special agent to transport another load of marijuana.

Subsequently, Trinidad Dominguez, 43, and Juan Norberto Moya, 51, both of Roma, allegedly asked Treviňo Sr. to get more information concerning the undercover special agent. Treviňo Sr. then asked Treviňo to get a copy of the undercover special agent's driver's license, which he did, according to the complaint. Treviňo Sr. then got into an SUV and allegedly provided the copy of the undercover special agent's license to the SUV driver. A record check on the Texas license plate of that SUV showed that its registered owner was a brother of Dominguez.

On Oct. 5, 2011, Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya showed up at work with a copy of the undercover special agent's driver's license. While at work, Deputy Marshal Moya allegedly approached another deputy U.S. marshal and told him a confidential source had given it to him. He further allegedly stated the source was transporting thousands of pounds of marijuana to Houston, and that he probably had a corrupt Border Patrol agent at the checkpoint because he had never been caught. Shortly thereafter, according to the complaint, Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya had an analyst obtain a color copy of the license and showed it to another deputy U.S. Marshal. Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya was told the person depicted in the driver's license was an HSI special agent.

Subsequently, Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya was interviewed by agents with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. The criminal complaint indicates he stated the license was given to him, not by a confidential source, but by his father, Juan Norberto Moya. He further claimed his father got the copy from someone he only knew as "Lauro." The reason he said his father gave it to him was so he could pass it along to another agency in an effort to become a confidential source. During the meeting, agents allegedly told Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya the HSI special agent was working undercover conducting drug trafficking investigations and all agreed to keep the information secret for the safety and well-being of the special agent.

According to the criminal complaint, Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya left the meeting and allegedly sent a text message to his father indicating that the person depicted in the driver's license was a federal agent.

During the course of the investigation, agents conducted a forensic examination of Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya's work computer. The examination allegedly showed that on Oct. 5, 2011, he conducted several searches on "Yahoo" and "Facebook" of the name of undercover special agent.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Moya is charged with assisting his father by informing him of the status of the undercover special agent in order to hinder and prevent his father's apprehension, trial and punishment. He's also charged with corruptly influencing, obstructing and impeding the proper administration of the law.

Moya faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $2.5 million fine if convicted of being an accessory after the fact. He could also receive another five years in federal prison for obstruction of a proceeding, upon conviction, as well as another $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anibal J. Alaniz, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.