A Starr County woman said she didn't know her husband was involved in drug trafficking. Prosecutors say her text messages show otherwise.
The wife of a Rio Grande City man indicted on drug trafficking charges went before a federal judge Wednesday morning accused of lying to the court.
During her initial appearance, the woman told the judge she could not speak English -- despite the fact that she testified in English during a court hearing on Feb. 11.
Ariana Sepulveda, 26, of Rio Grande City was arrested on Tuesday. Her husband, Daniel Sepulveda, is charged with drug trafficking after a January 2019 incident that involved 320 kilograms of cocaine.
The criminal complaint against Ariana accuses her of lying during her husband's detention hearing on Feb. 11, when she took the witness stand.
"Isn't it true that you are aware of your husband's involvement in this incident in January of 2019; isn't that true?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Profit asked.
"No," Ariana said.
At the time, Ariana was testifying before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby, who had been asked to determine whether or not Daniel could be released on bond.
The questioning continued for seven minutes, according to the recording of that detention hearing obtained by CHANNEL FIVE NEWS.
"Mrs. Sepulveda, you are aware that the government seized your phone, correct?" Profit asked.
"Yes," Ariana said.
Ariana also denied that she exchanged text messages with Daniel about fleeing to Reynosa after the failed drug smuggling event.
"There's no text messages that would prove that you're lying now before the Court?" Profit said.
"No," Ariana said.
Four months after making those statements, Ariana was arrested for what she said on the stand.
The criminal complaint against her quotes a series of text messages between Ariana and Daniel, which show them discussing how to erase information from phones and the aftermath of a drug smuggling incident.
"And they even pointed a pistol at me, but I turned and went the other way," read one message from Daniel's phone.
"Who pointed a gun at you and why?" Ariana responded.
"Well, immigration. So I would stop," Daniel said, according to the transcript in the complaint.
The couple then spoke about Daniel's plan to cross the border.
"Are you going to be able to come over here?" Ariana wrote.
"That is what I am going to see tomorrow. I am not going through the bridge," Daniel responded.
Some of the text messages were translated from Spanish to English.
When she appeared in court on Wednesday, Ariana requested an interpreter -- despite the fact she testified in English without an interpreter just three months ago.
Ariana is scheduled for a preliminary examination and detention hearing on Thursday.
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