Fernandez family members, others plead “not guilty”
On Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, members of the Fernandez family and others tied with a local drug bust and illegal gambling, went before a judge in the Federal Court House in Amarillo to enter a plea of not guilty. Jose “Junior” Fernandez, Francisco “Frank” Fernandez, Aaron Fernandez and Thomas Joseph Salazar, all of Borger, were arrested on Thursday, October 27, 2011 following investigations by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel. Arrest warrants were issued under the authority of the United States based on Special Agent Daryl Walker’s personal knowledge, experience and investigations of the four men who allegedly conspired to have with intent to distribute narcotics (including cocaine and methamphetamine. Jose Fernandez was charged with three substantive counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of running an illegal gambling business. Thomas Salazar is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Defendants Aaron Fernandez and David Escobar are also each charged with one count of running an illegal gambling business. If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine; each of the substantive possession with intent to distribute cocaine counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The illegal gambling count carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, all with a chance of a 5 year or less supervised release.Amy Fernandez went to court on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, pleading guilty for one count of evading the reporting requirements and the regulations issued thereunder, structure, attempt to structure, and attempted to assist in structuring currency transactions with one or more domestic financial institutions. She has been accused of purchasing 39 cashier's checks with United States currency in amounts of $3,000 or less pertaining to the structuring.The maximum statutory penalty for the structuring offense is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.All five were released with the same conditions to continue a home confinement program and restrictions to North Texas areas. A court date has not been set for any of them at this time. Watch the Borger News Herald for updates.