A former Yoakum County sheriff’s deputy has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from his involvement in a cocaine distribution conspiracy.

Inoe R. Valdez, Jr. pleaded guilty Thursday to an Information charging one count of unlawful use of a communications facility.

Valdez admitted to using a cell phone to commit, cause, and facilitate a conspiracy to distribute cocaine from July 2009 until August 2010.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Texas DPS investigators learned that Valdez was associating with a person who was suspected of trafficking controlled substances in Yoakum County.

Following a traffic stop of the suspect, DPS learned that the person had Valdez’s number saved in his cell phone and had been making calls to Valdez.

The person said that Valdez had instructed them to call or text him, which would be the signal for Valdez to go to the person’s house to discuss narcotics.

In winter of 2009, Valdez reportedly asked the suspect for three to four ounces of cocaine to give to another person in Brownfield, Texas. Valdez purchased the illicit substance for $2,100.

A person working under the direction of the DPS reportedly met Valdez and asked for $50 worth of cocaine, which Valdez said that he would provide it soon. They then discussed the possibility of getting further involved in a trafficking scheme.

Valdez told DPS investigators that his financial debts had become overwhelming, and he had discussed a joint venture with the suspect to smuggle marijuana to Oklahoma or Kansas, but said that the venture never took place.

Once Valdez learned that he was under investigation in August 2010, he resigned from the Yoakum County Sheriff’s Department.

Valdez faces up to four years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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