AUSTIN -- New charges have been filed in the Los Zetas money laundering case as three people are accused of attempting to bribe the judge.
On Friday the FBI released the criminal complaint filed against defendant Francisco Colorado Cessa, 52, his son Francisco Colorado Cessa, Jr., 25, and business associate Ramon Segura Flores, 52.
The complaint, filed Thursday, alleges the three conspired to bribe a federal judge. A federal jury convicted Colorado Cessa, Sr. in May for conspiring to commit money laundering. The complaint alleges that while in jail, he worked on a plan with his son and business associate to pay a $1.2 million bribe to a federal judge in return for a reduced sentence.
The calls from the Bastrop County Jail didn't go unnoticed.
"The investigation was initiated by our FBI violent crimes task force, and we're very happy with the results," said FBI Assistant Special Agent Dan Powers.
Undercover agents decided to play along, pretending to be a former federal inmate and attorney who would help facilitate the bribe.
They first met in July at Strange Brew Coffee in South Austin. Next the agents and suspects met at Starbucks on East Ben White, where they finalized the plan. They would play golf with the judge then leave $1.2 million for him in a golf bag.
Deals behind closed doors might be the norm in Mexico, but U.S. prosecutors say they won't have it.
"This case represents our commitment to keep the violence and corruption associated with Mexican drug cartels out of the United States," explained United States attorney Robert Pitman. “This community should rest assured that we will stop at nothing to send the message that we are one step ahead of them, and if they continue to try to function as they do in Mexico, we will find them, we will stop them, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are punished to the full extent of the law.”
Agents arrested Colorado Cessa, Jr. and Flores on Thursday.
All three men are in federal custody.
They each face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.