Weslaco attorney pleads guilty to bribery charge

A 40-year-old Weslaco attorney this morning pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Roel Alanis appeared before U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. where he entered his plea, admitting he paid

immigration detention employees for “alien detainee roster lists.” The lists were provided to him or his sister – Cynthia Alanis – who is also an attorney in the Rio Grande Valley, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas said in a press release.

The detainee lists were from the EL Valle Detention Center-Raymondville and the Port Isabel Detention Center-Los Fresnos. They contained names, dates of birth, country of origin and A-numbers of alien detainees. The attorneys would then visit them, or instruct others to do so, in order to solicit them to hire his law firm for representation in immigration proceedings.

Rodriguez set sentencing for Alanis Aug. 2. At that time, Alanis faces up to 15 years in federal prison for the bribery conviction and up to five for the conspiracy. Both convictions also carry a maximum $250,000 fine.

He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

Cynthia Alanis, 28, of Weslaco, pleaded guilty in February to making a false statement in a bribery investigation and is set for sentencing May 5.

She also is permitted to remain on bond.