At the close of the Austin Texas Zetas Money Laundering trial, a stunning addendum intruded the Austin courthouse, when prosecutors made aware the business partner and the son of defendant Francisco “Pancho” Colorado Cessa, [below left] had attempted to execute a scheme that would bribe a U.S. District Court judge, on behalf of Colorado, for a favorable sentence.
In another one of those situations which could have easily been created in Hollywood, Francisco Colorado Jr. and Ramon Segura attempted to bribe the presiding judge, planning to pay him 1 million USD.
Judge Sparks was never aware of the scheme. The plot included; an informant, secret meetings with undercover agents, code words and a fictitious story by the agents saying the judge had accepted the deal.
Colorado Jr. and Seguro pleaded guilty in exchange for Cessa receiving a light sentence, of about one year. They were released and deported to Mexico, where they promptly declared they were railroaded by the U.S. government and were innocent.
For his part Cessa pleaded with the judge to punish him but allow his son to go free. He then pleaded guilty. He attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, but the presiding judge, in the bribery case, Donald Walter, ruled against Cessa rescinding his plea, saying “he had implicitly accepted the plea agreement”, thereby was prevented from repealing the agreement.
He was sentenced to 5 years.
He was sentenced to 5 years.
But a federal 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals, found in disagreement with the presiding judge, concluding that he had the right to rescind the plea agreement.
This was the second appeal in which Cessa prevailed. In March his conviction in the Zetas trial was overturned.
He was convicted of laundering millions of dollars for Los Zetas cartel, in a quarter horse racing operation in the United States. The April 2013 trial which initially included 15 defendants but after plea deals the number dropped down to five.
Of the five who were tried;
Colorado Cessa found guilty sentenced to 240 months- conviction overturned on appeal
Fernando Solis Garcia, Guilty sentenced to 140 months
Jose Trevino Morales, brother of Omar and Miguel Trevino, found guilty sentenced to 20 years
Jesse Maldonado Huitron- Not Guilty
Eusevio "Chevo" Maldonado Huitron (brother of Jesse) Guilty- then conviction overturned and he was acquitted and freed with the appeals ruling “insufficient evidence”
At the time of the trial BB administrator Chivis, went on record saying the Huitron brothers should not have been charges in the first place, she was of the opinion that the brothers were innocent of the charges.
Cessa had predicted he would attain and overturn and eventual acquittal. He contention is he had no choice, he was forced into helping the Zetas, it was that or die.
However, testimony in the case says otherwise, among testimony was that of the two:
There is testimony of Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar aka “El Mamito” or Z-7.
Rejón spoke to the court of Pancho Colorado Cessa and his relationship with Z-14. He said, "They were compadres and Z-14 helped him with his company in Veracruz." He was at the investigation/reorganization meeting at Colorado's ranch after the death of Z-14. Rejón testified that he attended many match races, "maybe 80" with 40 and 42 in Mexico, and Colorado Cessa was there sometimes, too. "He bought horses for them."
Another witness, José Carlos Hinajosa, was a law clerk at the Federal Attorney’s office in San Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, before becoming the account for Los Zetas. He testified Thursday that in 2004-2005, Francisco Colorado Cessa siphoned millions of dollars of drug money that was allocated for the horse racing operation and 12 million dollars to the PRI political party’s gubernatorial campaign in Veracruz.
Although not named, the governor was Fidel Herrera Beltrán. He denies this to be fact, but the FBI suspected Francisco was giving money to Herrera.
Cessa will get a new trial in both cases, but don’t be surprised if he gets an attractive deal and one or both don’t make it to trial, seems Mexico’s narcos aren’t spending much time in prison after the dust settles.
For extensive background information, including information about the Zetas revealed in the trial, use the search bar, type in Zetas Trial or Zetas Money Laundering trial. Or use google to access the series and in the courtroom reporting of Havana and Chivis.