LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Paul I. Perez today announced the unsealing of a thirty-three count indictment charging RAFAEL FRANCISCO PACHECO, JR., 35, of Tampa, Florida, a Special Agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the United States Customs Service) and FIDENCIO ESTRADA, 36, of Mexico, with conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. The indictment further charges PACHECO with misleading other law enforcement officers in order to interfere with their investigation of possible narcotics and money laundering offenses committed by ESTRADA, obstruction of federal grand jury proceedings, making false statements to Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service and unauthorized use of two restricted federal databases – TECS (the Treasury
Enforcement Communication System) and NCIC (the National Crime Information Center).
The Indictment further charges PACHECO’s brother, JAVIER OMAR PACHECO, 26, of
McAllen, Texas, with obstruction of federal grand jury proceedings and making false
statements to Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service in connection with a tax
evasion investigation of RAFAEL FRANCISCO PACHECO, JR.
PACHECO and ESTRADA face maximum penalties of up to twenty years’
imprisonment and a $500,000 fine on the money laundering counts (Counts 13 – 23), up to fifteen years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the bribery counts (Counts 2 – 11), up to ten years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction counts (Counts 12 and 30) and up to five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on all of the other counts.
JAVIER OMAR PACHECO faces a maximum penalty of up to ten years’ imprisonment and
a $250,000 fine on the obstruction count (Count 30) and up to five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the false statement count (Count 33).
According to the Indictment, from about December 1999 through June 2001,
PACHECO, who was then a Special Agent with the United States Customs Service and
whose duties involved acting as a undercover agent in narcotics and money laundering
investigations, received bribes from ESTRADA, an alleged drug trafficker, in return for
obstructing criminal investigations of ESTRADA, facilitating the issuance of visas to enter the United States from Mexico for members of ESTRADA’s family and to access and obtain information from TECS and NCIC concerning ESTRADA.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed PACHECO on
administrative leave in October 2003, resulting in the removal of credentials, authority,
weapon, access to all law enforcement databases and enforcement activities at that time.
As a result of the unsealing of this indictment, termination action by his agency will
commence. At his initial appearance today, PACHECO’s bond was set at $50,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo.
The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of
Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional
Responsibility and the Internal Revenue Service, CID. The Florida Department of Law
Enforcement also assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Downing.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation
of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.