Weslaco attorney pleads guilty to bribery scheme
A Weslaco attorney pled guilty to bribery charges nearly two years after his arrest.
Roel Alaniz, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official. Alaniz was arrested July 2019 and accused of paying employees from the El Valle and Port Isabel immigrant detention centers for detainee roster lists.
Those rosters contained names, dates of birth, country of origin and other information of detainees. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, Alaniz or his sister – Cynthia Alaniz – received the lists and would visit those detainees or would have others drop in to try and get them to hire his law firm to fight their case.
Alaniz faces up to 15 years in prison and an additional five years for the conspiracy conviction, the news release stated. His sentencing is set for Aug. 2.
Cynthia Alaniz pled guilty making a false statement in a bribery investigation and has her sentencing set for May 5.
Willacy County Regional Detention Center employees Benito Barrientez and Damian Ortiz were named as the individuals who sold the list to Alaniz in the news release. They pled guilty to conspiracy and bribery of a public official and have their sentencing set for May 11.