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Arraignment Hearing in Zetas Money Laundering Trial Bribery Case

Posted on

October 8, 2013

 

Colorado Cessa Sr. to U.S. Court; “Let my son out and I won’t appeal”

An Arraignment is a criminal proceeding at which the defendant is, informed of the offense(s) charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty. Arraignment may also include the determination if bail will be set for the defendant.
 
 
The arraignment and detention hearing was held at 10:30 this morning for Francisco Colorado Cessa Jr. (full name as customary in Mexico; Francisco Augustin Colorado Cebado), Ramon Segura-Flores and Francisco Colorado Cessa (Sr.) United States Magistrate Judge, Andrew W. Austin presided over the hearing in the attempted bribery case. The defendants along with unnamed others, plotted to bribe presiding judge Sam Sparks 1.2 Million dollars in exchange for a sentence at the statutory minimum of 5 years for Colorado Sr.

 

Colorado Cessa Jr., the son of Francisco Colorado, is a University student and Segura is Colorado Cessa’spartner at ADT Petrol Servicios . Colorado Sr. is one of the defendants convicted in the “Zetas Money Laundering Trial” in May of this year.

The sentencing phase for the money laundering trial began on September 4th, culminated in high drama when, as the sentencing hearing was winding down, Segura and Colorado Jr. were arrested near the courthouse. This was subsequent to the testimony of Segura, at which time, under oath, he indignantly declared he had never participated in any illegal or criminal activity with Colorado Sr. the stunning turn of events of the bribery case overshadowed the sentencing.

When the man at the center of the case, Colorado Sr., entered the courtroom this morning he was all smiles as he spotted and waved to his wife Maria Emma Salmon Rocho, two daughters and 14 year old step son. His attorney Chris Wood, advised the court of his clients wish to have the hearings held concurrently, rather than consecutively, he further stated his client wanted to wave his right to detention portion of the hearing, since he is already detained and he doesn’t want it to affect his appeal should there be a ruling in his favor in appeal, secondly, Wood said his client wanted to stay in the courtroom for the next two arraignments that of his son and friend.

U.S. Attorney Douglas Gardner said he would have to defer to marshalls due to the fact there have been behavior issues when Colorado Sr. is around his son, though he did not expound further. The two other defendants then entered the courtroom, dressed in jail garb.
 
Garner calls FBI Special agent Steve Hause to testify, although not directly involved initially, he joined the case in the later stages and helped draft the affidavit. He also participated in the surveillance, arrest, and interview of Segura in addition to consulting with with case agents Robert Mundy and Scott Lawson about the background of both the money laundering and bribery cases. His testimony laid out the facts largely contained in the criminal complaint.

 

In August 2013, succeeding Colorado Sr. conviction, and continuing through September 4ht, agents reviewed jail telephone conversations between Jr. and Sr., which revealed that Jr., Sr., and Segura had discussed a plan to bribe a district court judge for a reduced sentence.

The case developed with the aid of two confidential sources (CS1 and CS2) and two agents, one posing as a former federal inmate the other as the attorney brother in law who “represented him” before the same judge in the Colorado Sr. case. It was CS1 who on July 18tharranged a meeting with CS2 at “Strange Brew Coffee Shop” in Austin Texas with the undercover agents (UC1 and UC2).

CS1 is a trusted informant, having worked with FBI Agent Robert Mundy for two years, therefore has proven himself reliable, he met Colorado Sr. and the family while being incarcerated.

 
Colorado Cessa was a major player in the Zetas money laundering scheme, including horse racing
In their roles as brother-in-laws they provided their story to UC2, saying his personal case was for distribution of cocaine, and sentenced was soft because of a relationship between the judge and UC2. During the recorded conversation, CS2 felt comfortable enough to give information of the plot, and how the plan for payment, and shared information from the defendants stored on his cell phone.
Agents then revealed their true identity to CS2. CS2 having a criminal drug history, decided to cooperate rather than fighting a bribery conspiracy charge. It was CS2 who then introduced agents to Segura and Colorado Jr., the two men directly attempting to enact the plot.

At that meeting Segura expressed that they wanted an attorney to handle the bribe, Colorado Jr. insisted on an attorney because of the attorney client privilege.

Defense attorneys countered that both informants have criminal history’s and were seeking ulterior motives, they pointed out that CS2 had been a part of the bribery plot for financial reasons, and now assisting in the case to divert his own charges.

Additional information and details of the investigation is in the criminal complaint below.

At the end of the day, judge Austin ruled against bail for Segura, not surprising due to his resources, wealth and immigration status. But in a remarkable move, Colorado Sr. offered the court a deal; If his son would be allowed bail, he would give up all right to appeals in his money laundering case conviction.

U.S. Attorney Douglas Gardner was adamant in his opposition of any deal, insinuating the action was a ploy against the U.S. system of justice, stating, ““The perversion of justice is their way of life”. Colorado Jr.’s attorney David Gerger asserted that his client has led a life free of crime. He went on to suggest some type of protection agreement with a premier security firm guarding Colorado Jr. in Austin, with no internet or phone privileges, so he could be near his family and perhaps attend school.

Gardner continued his case against bail by saying, Colorado Jr. while in jail, he had been scoffing at the charges against him and boasting that he would be drinking beer in Playa de Carmen this coming weekend after he was released.

Garner reminded the court on September 4th when testifying on behalf of his friend Colorado Sr., Segura was asked the question if he had ever engaged in criminal activity for or with Colorado Sr., he answered “no”, U.S. attorney Michelle Fernal then reminded Segura that he was under oath. He replied “yes ma’am”. Garner said; after the events of the bribery, I’m sure everyone was thinking, “How many times can one obstruct justice?”

Segura was arrested after he left court on that same day.

Judge Austin did not rule on the issue saying he would have to take it under consideration.

The men were charged with “attempting to influence a public official who was selected to commit or aid in committing or collude in or allow any fraud on the United States.

 

Colorado Cessa Sr. was sentenced to 20 years in the money laundering case.

To read other posts on the trial type “zetas money laundering trial in the search bar” and link to week one here
and week two here

 
 
 
 
 

About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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