McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A deputy U.S. marshal was arrested Tuesday for allegedly disclosing the identity of an undercover agent to his father, who is accused of being part of a drug trafficking organization, federal prosecutors said.
U.S. Marshal Lucio Osbaldo Moya was scheduled for a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon in McAllen. Moya, 29, of Rio Grande City, faces charges of being an accessory after the fact and obstruction. He could receive up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the accessory charge.
It was not immediately known if he had retained a lawyer.
In October 2011, Moya's father passed him a photocopied driver's license that an undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent had shared with the men who employed him to drive tractor-trailer loads of marijuana from South Texas to Houston, according to court documents. Moya inquired at work about the owner of the driver's license, was told he was an undercover agent and relayed that information to his father.
After meeting with Moya, Department of Homeland Security-Office of the Inspector General officials immediately contacted the undercover agent's supervisor and advised that his identity may have been compromised, court records show. Later that day, ICE and Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested several men targeted in the smuggling investigation, including Moya's father.
Moya's explanation about where he had gotten the copy of the driver's license changed, according to court records. First, he told a fellow marshal that a confidential source had provided it and believed the man was smuggling truckloads of marijuana. Later, he said his father had given it to him and he hoped his father could become a paid informant, according to the records.
Moya also gave various descriptions of text messages he sent to his father, the court records show. First, he said he sent one message after learning it was an undercover agent that said "to be very careful and not to be hanging around illegal activity." Later, Moya told investigators that he had sent his father two text messages that said: "Dad where did you get this paper" and "Dad this guy is an agent; you can't tell anyone what is going on; and you will need to talk to someone here."
But the text messages were deleted.
The agents investigating the smuggling ring based in Starr County — Moya was from the county — discovered several weeks before Moya blew the agent's cover that one of their targets had a son who was a deputy marshal.