Veteran sentenced in jail escape plot

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by Associated Press

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 11:06 AM

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A former U.S. Army soldier is serving a nearly six year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in conjunction to trying to spring his brother-in-law from jail, according to a newspaper report.

U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle late Tuesday sentenced Antonio Castillo, 30, of McAllen, to 70 months in prison after his Aug. 26 plea of guilty to accessory after the fact charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office dropped a second count against Castillo.

Tagle also fined him $3,300. Castillo could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $4 million.

The public record reflects that Castillo paid an undercover officer $300,000 in cash as partial payment of a $500,000 fee to help in the escape of Ricardo Garcia-Heredia, 44, from the Brooks County Detention Center in late June.

Garcia-Heredia was serving 30 years for trafficking cocaine through his Edinburg trucking business.

"I just want for all to know that I will pay my debt to society. And that I am taking responsibility for my actions," Antonio Castillo wrote to Tagle before his sentencing, the Brownsville Herald reported Wednesday in its online edition.

Castillo was honorably discharged from the military several years ago. He served in Iraq, earned the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal, public records show.

His wife said he changed after his service in the military.

"Since he returned from the war his character changed, he didn't sleep and was always quiet and absent," Brenda Castillo wrote to the court.

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