Drug trafficker who worked with the Panama Unit released from prison nearly 5 years early

“I made a lot of mistakes,” said Fernando Guerra Jr., 28, of San Carlos. “I was young.” (CBS 4 News File Photo)

A drug trafficker who worked with the Panama Unit will serve just three years of an eight-year federal prison sentence.

Fernando Guerra Jr. returned to federal court Thursday, where U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced him to time served.

“I made a lot of mistakes,” said Guerra Jr., 28, of San Carlos. “I was young.”

What, exactly, prompted the reduced sentence wasn’t clear.

Documents filed by prosecutors and the defense attorney remain sealed. Neither the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas nor Houston-based attorney Javier O. Martinez, who represents Guerra Jr., would comment on what they told the judge.

“The judge took a lot of things into consideration,” Martinez said, adding that he couldn’t discuss the details. “I'm not going to comment on the specific factors.”

Guerra Jr. and his father, Fernando Guerra Sr., worked with members of the Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers program and the Panama Unit — including Mission police Inv. Jonathan Treviño, the son of former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Lupe Treviño — to steal drug shipments from smugglers. They sold the stolen drugs and shared the profits.

Federal agents arrested the Guerras in January 2013. They pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges six months later.

Crane sentenced Guerra Jr. to eight years in prison. Guerra Sr. received a 15-year sentence.

As part of the plea agreement, they forfeited property in Hidalgo County and Willacy County.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons sent Guerra Jr. to Manchester, Kentucky, and later transferred him to Beaumont.

During the sentencing hearing on Thursday morning, Guerra Jr. told the judge he tutored inmates enrolled in a Spanish-language GED program.

“My plan is to go back to school and get an education,” Guerra Jr. said, adding that he wasn’t sure what he would study.

While taking classes, Guerra Jr. plans to work at his wife’s business.

Crane sentenced Guerra Jr. to time served — three years and nearly three months. After Guerra Jr. is released, he must meet with a probation officer and may participate in a program for people with a history of drug abuse.

“I don’t know if you’ll be released today or tomorrow, but it’ll be no later than tomorrow,” Crane said, adding later: “Best of luck to you, sir, and you’re excused at this time.”

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