- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mexican-connected drug cartels had a mole inside the U.S. attorney’s office in San Antonio, the FBI says, accusing her of leaking secret information about ongoing investigations, including tipping off targets who had been indicted or were about to be arrested.

Prosecutors charged Jennifer Loya, a paralegal who had access to surveillance records, warrants and other sensitive information, with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

FBI Special Agent Jacob Dezern, in an affidavit, said Ms. Loya was helping her sister Kimberly Loya and her sister’s husband Roland Gustamante, who were San Antonio distributors for the Fernandez-Vasquez drug smuggling organization, part of the Cartel de Noreste.

Agent Dezern also said a number of drug organizations in San Antonio maintain loose ties with each other, and it appears Jennifer Loya, who had worked for the office for three years, had helped several of them.

Law enforcement began to sniff out a mole last year, when Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Frankie Martinez, leader of one of the organizations, and he said he had been told he was about to be arrested.

Agents had expected to confiscate loads of drugs, but they found that the narcotics, as well as several other people who were targets for arrest, had vanished overnight.

Then earlier this year, while investigating another drug organization, DEA agents were told there was a source leaking sensitive law enforcement information. They traced it back to Mr. Gustamante.

In one text exchange reported in the court documents, Mr. Gustamante warned Jonathan Chapa, head of one of San Antonio’s drug organizations, that another person had “snitched” and the feds were on to him.

“Games on and you in the hot seat,” Mr. Gustamante said, adding, “If you understand do your thing Cuz dont waist [sic] time.”

“Need the church leftovers out the kitchen and in the cooler,” Mr. Gustamante wrote.

Mr. Chapa was eventually arrested.

Afterward, his aunt contacted the DEA to report that he had bragged about having a mole inside the government who was providing information. The aunt mentioned Mr. Gustamante had a contact who worked as a legal assistant and had access to case information, Agent Dezern told the court.

Once they were on to Jennifer Loya, Justice Department investigators tracked calls to and from her phone and monitored her computer activity at the U.S. attorney’s office and spotted more suspicious activity, according to the court documents.

Kimberly Loya and Mr. Gustamante were also arrested. Kimberly Loya admitted to investigators that her sister had tipped her off about Mr. Chapa’s indictment and pending arrest and told her not to be around him.

Kimberly Loya and Mr. Gustamante are charged with dealing methamphetamine and money laundering.

Mr. Gustamante is still being held on bond, with a detention hearing scheduled for next week.

Jennifer and Kimberly Loya were released on unsecured bonds.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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