There are many crimes committed both here in Texas and the United States as a whole every year. While many of the defendants that are arrested are charged with municipal or state offenses, others face federal ones. At least 76,656 federal cases resulted in sentences in 2019. As many as 118 of them involved a corporation or organized offender. The others were tried against individuals.
The United States government considers any instance in which someone attempts to re-enter the country illegally to be a federal offense. This is one of the reasons why you see such a high concentration of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officers positioned along the Texas-Mexico boundary and in many major cities in the Lone Star State such as here in Corpus Christi. They tend to arrest anyone they suspect of illegally re-entering this country. The U.S. Attorney's Office then prosecutes them.
When a person is convicted of a crime, it's like a scarlet letter attached to their name. Currently, there's no system in place in Texas or the United States as a whole that automatically expunges an individual's criminal records after a certain period. Once a defendant is convicted of a crime, and more specifically a federal one, their conviction is generally attached to their name forever.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas says that a 46-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative made more than $1 million between February 2013 and December 2014 by participating in a fraudulent prescription scheme. The woman was sentenced on Jan. 16 to spend 30 months in a federal prison. This is to be followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution costs of $1,746,222. Federal authorities have already recovered approximately $88,000 from the woman by seizing and selling her San Antonio home.
Texas was one of the states that led the way for the change in federal law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco products to people under 21. Included as part of a major spending bill passed in December 2019, the legislation did not set a date for officially raising the age to purchase tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape cartridges, from 18 to 21. Some estimates indicated that they expected that the law would not go into effect for six to nine months. However, the FDA published a statement on the agency website affirming that "it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product...to anyone under 21."
A 25-year-old Texas woman has been sentenced to spend 140 months in a federal prison to be followed by supervised release lasting five years for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. The Pharr resident learned of her fate on Dec. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The sentence was handed down as part of a plea agreement the woman entered into in February 2018. The woman faced a possible life sentence if she had been convicted after a trial.
Two former Texas police officers are facing federal criminal charges after a botched drug raid led to the deaths of the couple that lived in the raided home as well as injuries to several other police. The two men are also facing state charges in the case, including felony murder allegations. Felony murder charges can be pursued when a homicide is committed in the course of committing another crime. The federal charges allege that the 55-year-old and 45-year-old men provided false information that led to the deadly January drug raid.
Texas residents are likely aware that federal law enforcement agencies often consult with experts when investigating complex white-collar crimes, but they may be surprised by media reports revealing that one of these consultants has been charged with committing the very offenses he provided information about. According to court documents unsealed on Nov. 18, a 73-year-old University of Miami professor who assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice with money laundering investigations has been accused of laundering money.
In Texas and across the United States, some examples of animal cruelty are now official felonies. Per the U.S. House of Representatives, a new bill clarifies the fact that Americans are against cruelty to animals. Numerous American citizens have expressed their support of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT. People from various political parties are in favor of the bill. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing Florida, mentioned that he is grateful for all the Americans who helped the House pass the bill. However, the Senate still needs to vote, and the bill will require President Trump's signature.
A sharp rise in drug smuggling in border states like Texas has led to a surge in federal apprehensions, and most of the people being taken into custody by federal agents are not United States citizens. A report released on Aug. 22 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that narcotics arrests now account for two-thirds of the federal apprehensions in the Southern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the Southern District of California, the District of New Mexico and the District of Arizona. That figure stood at 33% in 1998.