‘DWI Dude’ Texas lawyer sentenced to 15 years in jail after scamming $1.5m out of drug traffickers – About Your Online Magazine


Jamie Balagia was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison after stealing $ 1.5 million from Colombian drug dealers

Jamie Balagia was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison after stealing $ 1.5 million from Colombian drug dealers

A Texas lawyer known as the ‘DWI Dude’ was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison after stealing $ 1.5 million from Colombian drug dealers.

Jamie Balagia, 65, falsely promised cartel members that his charges would be reduced or dismissed in exchange for money, prosecutors said.

Balagia, well known for using an advertising van for his services that said: ‘Busted? Call the Dude! ‘, He was sentenced on Monday to 188 months in federal prison.

He was caught after one of the alleged drug dealers turned him into the FBI.

According to federal prosecutors, Balagia conspired with a private investigator in Florida and a lawyer in Colombia.

They would cheat Colombian drug traffickers into paying ‘attorney fees’ for acting as intermediaries with government officials who, they said, would take bribes to reject criminal charges or reduce prison sentences.

There were no bribes or government officials involved.

Jamie Balagia, 65, in the photo speaking, falsely promised the drug lords that his charges would be reduced or dismissed in exchange for money, prosecutors said

Jamie Balagia, 65, in the photo speaking, falsely promised the drug lords that his charges would be reduced or dismissed in exchange for money, prosecutors said

Balagia, who used a van advertising his service that said: 'Busted? Call the Dude! ', He was sentenced on Monday to 188 months in federal prison

Balagia, who used a van advertising his service that said: ‘Busted? Call the Dude! ‘, He was sentenced on Monday to 188 months in federal prison

He was caught after one of the alleged drug dealers turned him into the FBI. Balagia's two co-defendants are serving federal prison sentences. Florida private investigator Chuck Morgan and Colombian lawyer Bibiana Correa Perrea pleaded guilty. Morgan was sentenced to six years in federal prison, while Correa serves seven years.

He was caught after one of the alleged drug dealers turned him into the FBI. Balagia’s two co-defendants are serving federal prison sentences. Florida private investigator Chuck Morgan and Colombian lawyer Bibiana Correa Perrea pleaded guilty. Morgan was sentenced to six years in federal prison, while Correa serves seven years.

Balagia, a former Austin police officer, was convicted after a two-week trial in the Eastern District of Texas at Sherman in 2019.

He faced charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of justice, violation of the Kingpin Act, conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

“The evidence in this case showed that Balagia had been shaking his clients for years, claiming that he was able to buy favorable deals from prosecutors and judges,” said acting US attorney Nicholas Ganjei.

Balagia, a former Austin police officer also known as 420 Dude, was convicted after a two-week trial in the Eastern District of Texas at Sherman in 2019

Balagia, a former Austin police officer also known as 420 Dude, was convicted after a two-week trial in the Eastern District of Texas at Sherman in 2019

Defense attorney Gaylon Riddels asked his client for parole, saying Balagia was ‘homeless, destitute and broken’, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Balagia’s two co-defendants in the case previously pleaded guilty and are serving federal prison sentences.

Florida private investigator Chuck Morgan and Colombian lawyer Bibiana Correa Perrea pleaded guilty. Morgan was sentenced to six years in federal prison, while Correa serves seven.

Balagia was arrested in 2017, when he is believed to have met a client in prison who was an alleged Colombian drug dealer.

He claimed that his co-defendants manipulated him.

According to federal prosecutors, Balagia conspired with a private investigator in Florida and a lawyer in Colombia to trick Colombian drug traffickers into paying 'attorney fees' for acting as intermediaries with government officials who, they said, would take bribes to reject criminal charges or reduce prison sentences

Balagia is pictured

According to federal prosecutors, Balagia conspired with a private investigator in Florida and a lawyer in Colombia to trick Colombian drug traffickers into paying ‘attorney fees’ for acting as intermediaries with government officials who, they said, would take bribes to reject criminal charges or reduce prison sentences

Defense attorney Gaylon Riddels asked his client for parole, saying Balagia was

Defense attorney Gaylon Riddels asked his client for probation, saying Balagia was ‘homeless, destitute and broken’, reported the Dallas Morning News

Balagia took a stand in its own defense, telling jurors that it did not know that accepting cash payments in small deposits and bags delivered in parking lots was money laundering. Dallas News said.

“Colombians and criminals in every other country we deal with need to understand that things don’t work that way in the United States,” said Brown. “When we have lawyers who represent that employees can be bought, we take it very seriously.”

“This defendant and his group were plotting drug dealers – some of the biggest drug dealers in the world,” US Attorney Joe Brown said in a statement.

– Fortunately for him, these traffickers chose to make him the FBI instead of dealing with it any other way. It is important for the American justice system that we prosecute those who claim that the justice system is for sale. ‘

Paula Fonseca