SAN ANTONIO — A paralegal specialist with the U.S. Attorney's Office is accused of feeding insider information to drug trafficking organizations.
Jennifer Loya has been charged with engaging in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine; obstruction of justice; and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
According to court records, Loya, who is the sister-in-law of Roland Gustamante of the Gustamante drug trafficking organization (DTO) is accused of using electronic surveillance made available to her by her position within the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas and tipping off various DTOs to ongoing DEA investigations.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office had the following statement to offer:
In light of the serious charges, which are being prosecuted by the Southern District of Texas, Ms. Loya has been placed on administrative leave. As with all support employees in the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Ms. Loya underwent a full background investigation by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Court records obtained by KENS 5 state that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating Israel Fernandez-Vasquez, the leader of a "sophisticated drug trafficking operation" based in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 2018.
Fernandez-Vasquez was later identified by 'CS,' someone who was incarcerated with Fernandez-Vasquez, as a member of Cartel del Noreste (CDN).
Although Fernandez-Vasquez was deported from the U.S. in May 2018, he allegedly continued to operate a drug trafficking organization in San Antonio, according to 'CS.' It was alleged that Fernandez-Vasquez oversaw the transportation and distribution of large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine into the U.S., specifically the SA area.
'CS' and Fernandez-Vasquez had been in contact since October 2018, according to court records. The 'CS' contacted Fernandez-Vasquez to negotiate the purchase of one pound of methamphetamine from a San Antonio-based associate of Fernandez-Vasquez's; the associate was later identified as Roland Gustamante, also known as ROLO.
In April of 2020, FBI agents interviewed a cooperating defendant (CD) about Gustamante and his associates.
The CD stated that Gustamante, who had a home in Monterrey, was in charge of supplying the CD with illegal narcotics from Mexico and coordinating the smuggling and transportation of illegal narcotics from Mexico into the US.
When agents asked how the illegal narcotics made their way into San Antonio from Mexico, the CD said that loads would come in pickup trucks driven by various people within the Gustamante organization.
CD said that the drugs were hidden in tires, transmissions and oil pans. CD also admitted to using some of his/her associates from San Antonio by sending them to Laredo to pick up the loads. CD said that he/she would use random people to make these trips and would pay each person $1,000 per trip.
Whenever the drugs would arrive in SA, the CD said they would drive to Gustamante's sister's house, where the drugs would be offloaded inside a garage and then taken to a stash house.
Court records state that Gustamante's sister, Alexandra's home was used on multiple occasions to unload the drugs.
CD also said that Gustamante's wife, Kimberly Loya was in charge of collecting/transporting/smuggling bulk currency into Mexico to pay for the illegal drug loads being distributed by Gustamante. Additionally, the CD also said that Loya would sometimes pick up different amounts of drugs throughout SA and deliver to various associates in the city.
The CD told investigators that he/she went with Loya during a trip in June of 2019 to meet with Gustamante's sources of supply, later identified as Ismael and Israel Fernandez-Vasquez.
Court records state that Kimberly Loya's sister, Jennifer Loya is employed as a paralegal specialist in the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. Jennifer reportedly started working as a legal assistant in the office in 2017 and was promoted to paralegal specialist in February 2020.
Jennifer, who has access to electronic surveillance, is suspected of disclosing sensitive law enforcement information pertaining to active DEA investigations on drug traffic organizations.
Cartel de Noreste
Israel Fernandez Vasquez (member of Cartel de Noreste)***
Gustamante DTO (associate of Fernandez Vasquez)
CD* --- Roland Gustamante & Kimberly Loya
I Jennifer Loya**
Source of Supply
Ismael and Israel Fernandez Vasquez (Back to the Top)
*Note: CD knows Gustamante and Kimberly Loya
**Note: Jennifer Loya (sister of Kimberly and a paralegal with the US Attorney's Office)
***Note: Ismael and Israel Fernandez Vasquez are Gustamante's source of supply.
Drug Trafficking Organizations
Throughout the course of various investigations, DEA agents identified multiple trafficking organizations operating in SA that were loosely tied to each other.
Agents identified the Frankie Martinez DTO and Jonathan Chapa DTO. Agents later discovered that Chapa and Adam McGarity, a member of the Martinez DTO were childhood friends. According to court records, agents learned that the Chapa DTO would provide the Martinez DTO with drugs supplied by Gustamante. Gustamante and Chapa have been identified as cousins.
Drug Trafficking Organizations operating in SA
Jonathan Chapa DTO**
Frankie Martinez DTO
Adam McGarity (member of Martinez DTO) / childhood friends with Jonathan Chapa
*Note: Chapa DTO provided Martinez DTO with drugs supplied by Gustamante DTO.
**Chapa is a cousin of Gustamante's
A leak in information?
In May 2019 the DEA Texas Anti-Gang Unit (TAG) arrested Frankie Martinez. During Martinez's arrest, Martinez told the agent that he knew the agent was coming to arrest him.
During the execution of search warrants, agents found that multiple targets of the Martinez organization had moved during the night and little narcotics were found.
Based on previous investigation, the DEA had been confident that more would be found.
In February 2020, Adam McGarity (member of the Martinez DTO) spoke with agents regarding his involvement in the organization. During the conversation, McGarity told agents that a few days prior to his arrest, a female known as 'Maria' came to his home and told him that she saw McGarity's name on law enforcement documents that named him and others in the Martinez DTO.
It was unclear how 'Maria' knew about these documents.
During the DEA's investigation of the Chapa DTO, and other affiliates of the organizations, individuals close to the Chapa DTO told agents and task force officers that someone within the organization had a source who was providing law enforcement investigative information.
In March 2020, during an interview with Nathan Lopez, Lopez told agents that a person known to him a 'primo' (later identified as Roland Gustamante), knew someone working for the United States government. This person reportedly provided Gustamante with information on federal investigations.
Lopez told agents that Gustamante told members of the organization that they had been indicted by a federal grand jury, and that an associate of the organization was cooperating with agents by providing information about the organization.
On March 26, 2020, the DEA executed a Western District of Texas federal search warrant for cellular phones recovered during the arrest of Jonathan Chapa.
While reviewing one of the phones, agents found a message thread dated March 2, 2020, two days before the DEA presented their case on the Chapa organization to the federal grand jury.
The following is a thread between Jonathan Chapa and his cousin, Roland Gustamante:
Gustamante: Adam up and it ain't looking like it's like a fair game
Gustamante: I might not be around cuzz
Gustamante: Games on and you in the hot seat.
Gustamante: Yesssir if you understand do your thing Cuz dont waist time
Gustamante: I got good kite on that.
Gustamante: Big Boy
Gustamante: And shorty
Gustamante: Real s**t I've already paused the mas arriba don't take me lightly
Gustamante: Need the church leftovers out the kitchen and in the cooler
According to DEA agents and other involved in the investigation, the above text exchange is a conversation between Gustamante and Chapa, in which Gustamante informs Chapa that Adam McGarity 'snitched' on Chapa.
Gustamante informed Chapa that he would be leaving town and that police would be coming after Chapa.
Gustamante then told Chapa that his information is good and reliable and that law enforcement would be coming after Chapa, Sergio ('Big Boy') Narvaez, and Roger ('Shorty') Diaz.
Finally, Gustamanted tells Chapa not to take what he has said lightly and to move his drugs and get out of town.
On March 27, 2020 DEA agents interviewed CD3, a member of the Chapa DTO who assisted the organization in securing drugs from Mexico and transporting the drugs into the U.S. CD3 told agents that Gustamante's wife, Kimberly had a sister who was working for the United States government as a paralegal assistant with DEA narcotics investigations.
Kimberly's sister reportedly told Gustamante that CD3 would be indicted and that he was going to be arrested soon. Gustamante then told CD3.
CD3 told agents that Kimberly's sister had been providing information to members of the organization for an extended period of time, and that prior investigations by the DEA had been compromised as a result of that information.
Kimberly's sister was later identified as Jennifer Loya.
Additionally, Jonathan Chapa's aunt contacted DEA agents in April 2020 and told them that Chapa bragged about the organization having someone on the inside of the government who was providing information to the organization.
Chapa reportedly told his aunt that his cousin, Gustamante, had a contact who worked as a legal assistant and had access to DEA case information.
Investigation of 'Inside Contact'
During the course of their investigation, DEA agents obtained records that included cell phone contacts on a phone belonging to Jennifer Loya.
A "pen register application" for a phone belonging to Nathan Lopez, an associate of Chapa and Gustamante, on April 20, 2020 was made by Loya during her normal office duties.
It was later discovered that Loya printed a document related to the pen register application on Lopez.
A few days later, Loya accessed investigatory files related to Lopez and others.
Neither of these specific tasks was necessary to the carrying out of Loya's duties.
On April 28, 2020 Loya received incoming calls from a phone known to be used by Kimberly Loya. After the phone call, Loya accessed an unredacted form of a voluntary debriefing by Nathan Lopez. In the report, Lopez mentioned that a US government employee passed along the information to Gustamante regarding "future prosecutorial activities against members of the Chapa DTO." In the documents accessed by Loya was one named “Cooperating Witnesses and Defendants”.
Later that evening, Jennifer Loya's phone was contacted by Kimberly Loya's phone. This was followed by six outgoing calls from Jennifer to Kimberly.
On May 7, 2020 Kimberly Loya was interviewed by law enforcement. Kimberly told agents that sometime between March 4 and March 10, Jennifer informed Kimberly that Jonathan Chapa had been indicted and was about to be arrested.
Kimberly also told agents that Jennifer warned Kimberly not to be around Jonathan Chapa and to be careful. Jennifer further told Kimberly that she had come across a document at work that Gustamante was under investigation for being involved with a Mexican DTO.
Based on the above, DEA agents believe that Jennifer Loya engaged in conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine; obstruction of justice; and conspiracy to obstruct justice.