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Starr County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Bribery, Extortion, Drug Violations

Scott Olson, Getty Images

A Starr County Sheriff’s Deputy has been arrested for bribery, extortion, and drug charges.

34-year-old Nazario Solis III of Rio Grande City, Texas has been ordered detained by a federal magistrate on charges of conspiracy, federal programs bribery, extortion, and drug possession with intent to distribute.

According to the indictment, Solis and fellow Deputy Jason Michael Munsell, also charged in the indictment, accepted approximately $1,500 in cash payments from the operator of a gambling business in Starr County in exchange for providing warning of law enforcement activity involving the business.

The two were recorded confirming that they had provided the notice about a law enforcement raid on at least one occasion in March 2011, allowing the business to remove money and employees from the establishment.

Munsell, a 26-year-old Deputy, has been charged with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and extortion, one count of federal programs bribery, and one count of extortion. He surrendered to the FBI earlier this week.

Solis is also charged with attempting to distribute three kilograms of cocaine and cash in exchange for semi-automatic and fully-automatic firearms, which Solis intended to send to his “boss” in Mexico. The negotiations were actually made with an undercover agent, and no firearms were traded.

He also has been charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana in April 2011. Solis was arrested on July 12th.

Solis faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for each conspiracy charge; 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for each charge of extortion and federal programs bribery; five years in prison, $250,000 fine, and supervised release for the marijuana distribution charge; and five to 40 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and supervised release for the attempted cocaine distribution charge if found guilty.

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