Feds accuse Progreso ISD board president of smuggling 88 pounds of cocaine

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Francisco Alanis

Federal prosecutors allege that the Progreso school district’s board president was involved in smuggling approximately 88 pounds of cocaine in 2020.

The superseding indictment charging Francisco Javier Alanis, 40, was unsealed Monday morning when he made a first appearance in Brownsville federal court.

That document alleges Alanis was involved with smuggling about 58 pounds of cocaine on June 13, 2020 and another 30 pounds of cocaine on Aug. 8, 2020.

Prosecutors also allege he conspired to smuggle cocaine from January 2020 to March 20, 2022.

The plea deal paperwork for one of Alanis’ co-defendants, Ralph Lozano, who pleaded guilty on May 2 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, indicates that Border Patrol agents at the Sarita Checkpoint intercepted the Aug. 8, 2020 load of cocaine after Jose Rosbel Salas arrived there in a semi-truck.

And Border Patrol agents were waiting for him.

“During the course of the investigation into the drug trafficking activities of Lozano, DEA and HSI agents received information that (David) Gomez-Ramos was going to send a load of approximately 12 or 13 kilograms of cocaine to Lozano,” the plea paperwork stated. “This load was to be transported in the beginning of August of 2020.”

That document doesn’t mention Alanis, but said that Lozano conspired with other co-conspirators to obtain and sell cocaine. Gomez-Ramos would send the cocaine from Brownsville to Lozano in Houston, according to federal prosecutors.

The cocaine would then be distributed in Houston.

Salas pleaded guilty on May 31, 2022 for this drug load and is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Gomez-Ramos, a Mercedes resident, is scheduled to be arraigned on the superseding indictment Thursday afternoon.

Also charged in the case are Gregoria Salinas, 52, of Mercedes, and 48-year-old Santa Rosa resident Juan Pablo Serrata.

They are scheduled to be arraigned along with Gomez-Ramos and Alanis on Thursday.

Another man named Eulalio Sierra pleaded guilty to smuggling nearly 49 pounds of cocaine on April 12, 2021.

He was sentenced previously to 10 years in prison and the Bureau of Prisons lists his release date as Dec. 7, 2030.

As for Alanis, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya ordered him held without bond on Monday pending his arraignment and a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday, court records show.

All of the other suspects remain in custody.


Progreso school board president charged with drug trafficking