Jury Acquits on Wire and Mail Fraud Charges Arising from Alleged Insurance Fraud Scheme
The jury convicted Hale of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine between Oct. 15, 2008, and Nov. 30, 2008, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possessing the firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime between Nov. 7 and Nov. 25, 2008.
During the trial, evidence was presented showing that Hale and a fellow LPD officer, Pedro Martinez III, met with an FBI undercover agent posing as a drug dealer in a hotel room in
on Nov. 7, 2008. During the recorded meet, Hale and Laredo Martinez discussed how the two officers could escort loads of 20 kilograms each of cocaine from south to north using their personal vehicles and police-issued radios to monitor dispatch traffic. Laredo
On Nov. 13, 2008, first
, then Hale, each escorted a load vehicle during afternoon rush-hour traffic. Each vehicle contained 20 kilograms of sham cocaine. On Nov. 25, Hale and Martinez Martinez arranged to meet the payoff person in , to receive payment for the protective escort services they had provided. Hale and San Antonio, Texas each received $1,000 from another undercover agent posing as the organization’s moneyman. Martinez , who pleaded guilty prior to trial, testified against Hale. Martinez
Additional testimony heard during the trial in support of the fraud charges alleged in a superseding indictment detailed a scheme in which Hale allegedly asked
whether he knew of any persons who might want their vehicles “stolen” (taken with their knowledge). The vehicle could be driven into and sold in Martinez , while the owner made a fraudulent claim of theft profiting from the theft through receipt of insurance proceeds and no longer having a loan payment. Mexico and Hale were also to profit from the scam, according to testimony. Two such “thefts” allegedly occurred on Oct. 24, 2008, then again on Dec. 13-14, 2008. The jury, however, acquitted Hale of the three mail fraud charges and one wire fraud charge alleged in the indictment arising from the alleged scheme. Martinez
The drug conspiracy conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment along with a $4 million fine. The firearms conviction charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment upon conviction, which must be served consecutive or upon completion of any term of imprisonment imposed for the underlying drug offense as well as a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 10, 2011. Hale has been permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Immigration Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations and Customs Border Protection with the assistance and cooperation of the LPD. Assistant United States Attorney Roberto F. Ramirez prosecuted the case.