Facebook / Jamie Balagia
Attorney Jamie Balagia speaks at a 2015 marijuana legalization rally.
The flamboyant Texas attorney who bills himself as the "DWI Dude" was found guilty Tuesday of scamming cocaine trafficker clients out of $1.5 million by claiming he could bribe U.S. officials to drop their cases.
A jury in a North Texas federal court found Jamie Balagia, 62, guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempting to violate the Kingpin Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office
Balagia, who resides in the Austin area, will be sentenced at a later date and faces up to 30 years in federal prison, according to U.S. sentencing guidelines.
The lawyer maintains a San Antonio office and made a name for himself defending accused drunk drivers and people charged with pot possession. He ran for Texas attorney general in 2014 on a pro-marijuana legalization platform.
Federal officials say Balagia conspired with Florida private investigator Chuck Morgan and Colombian attorney Bibiana Correa Perrea to target the traffickers. Both men pleaded guilty and have already been sentenced.
“This defendant and his group were running a scam on drug dealers — some of the biggest drug dealers in the world,” U.S. Attorney Joe Brown said in a written statement. “Fortunately for him, these drug dealers chose to turn him into the FBI rather than handle it any other way."
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