A former Houston police officer is facing up to 10 years in prison on conspiracy charges related to alleged ties to a Mexican cartel. The officer is now feeling pressure due to information being provided by convicted cocaine traffickers.
Officer Noe Juarez’s alleged involvement with the notorious Los Zetas cartel goes back to 2006, according to the Houston Chronicle. Prosecutors claim that a cocaine conspiracy in the Houston area included various safe houses in the Houston area, where drugs were kept before being sent to New York City, Detroit, Maryland, Florida, Tennessee and Louisiana. Los Zetas have a strong market presence in many Texas cities, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston.
Juarez, who was fired from the force following his indictment, is accused of having driven one of the drug trafficker’s cars to find out if police were tracking him, as well as sharing photos taken by a police camera hidden outside a house used by the traffickers. [Prosecutors] allege he was part of a conspiracy by helping traffickers get their hands on guns, bulletproof vests and ammunition. He also allegedly allowed them to use his name to buy luxury cars with their cash, and provided them with sensitive information from a classified law-enforcement database.
This is not the first time a Texas-based law enforcement officer has been accused of having ties to cartels and smuggling organizations. In November, Breitbart Texas reported the arrest of Border Patrol Agent Juan Pimentel for allegedly attempting to transport 50 kilograms of cocaine from Arizona to Chicago. Also in November 2015, Breitbart Texas reported the arrest of Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna for his alleged involvement in facilitating the movement of illegal immigrants through Texas and alleged involvement in the beheading of a Honduran national.
According to papers recently filed at the federal courthouse in New Orleans, at least two convicted cocaine traffickers are cooperating with the government to provide information about Juarez’s involvement in the conspiracy. However, Juarez’s attorney, George Murphy Jr., told the Houston Chronicle, “The government’s case is weak in proving that Noe knew these guys were drug dealers.” During an April 2015 hearing, video and audio tapes were made public of Juarez both speaking on the phone with a drug trafficker who was cooperating with authorities, and also meeting in person with a woman who he was supposedly told was a high level Mexican drug trafficker.
Although Juarez was never directly involved in the cocaine smuggling itself, he faces 10 years to life if convicted of conspiring to help distribute cocaine for Los Zetas.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.