Accused heroin trafficker set for trial in Texarkana federal court

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An accused heroin trafficker scheduled for trial April 1 in a Texarkana federal court wants the statement he made to investigators after his arrest kept from the jury.

Armando Moya, 47, of New Boston, Texas, was first indicted in June by a federal grand jury in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas for conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver heroin. A superseding indictment issued in November accuses Moya of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of more than a kilogram of heroin and fentanyl from March to June 2018 and of carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on June 7.

Moya has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has rejected an offer from the government to enter into a plea bargain. Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson recently filed a motion to suppress any statements Moya made to investigators. The motion takes issue with a June 7 interrogation of Moya by agents with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Texas Department of Public Safety.

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The motion alleges Moya wasn’t properly advised of his rights, particularly his right to remain silent. The motion accuses the agents of using illegal tactics to extract a statement from Moya.

“Any statement taken during said interrogation was the result of coercion, physical intimidation, and/or unauthorized promises of leniency by members of law enforcement and are, therefore, involuntary and inadmissible for any purpose,” the motion states.

The motion is scheduled for a hearing March 12 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven. Moya is currently free on an unsecured $10,000 appearance bond.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled for April 1 before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok is prosecuting.

The superseding indictment includes notice of the government’s intent to seek Moya’s forfeiture of a Raven Arms model P-25 semi-automatic pistol. The government is also seeking Moya’s forfeiture of $198,184 in cash and a money judgment in the amount of $1,750,000.

Moya could face up to life in prison and a fine up to $10,000,000 if found guilty of conspiracy with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and fentanyl over one kilogram. The weapons charge is punishable by five years to life in prison and any sentence for that crime must be served consecutively to any term Moya might receive for the drug charge.

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