BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — After spending the weekend in jail, Progreso school board President Frank Alanis made his first appearance in federal court Monday.
Francisco “Frank” Alanis, 40, of Progreso appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III on Monday morning in Brownsville.
Torteya summarized the indictment against Alanis and scheduled him for arraignment on Thursday. Alanis plans to plead not guilty.
“We look forward to our day in court,” said attorney Carlos A. Garcia of Mission, who represents Alanis.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations arrested Alanis on Friday.
“He’s been a public servant, I think, for almost 20 years now,” Garcia said. “And he’s a man of strong faith. He’s a family man.”
It remained unclear Monday whether Alanis planned to resign from his positions.
The Progreso Independent School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday afternoon and Monday morning. A clerk at City Hall said City Manager Alfredo Espinosa was not available Monday morning.
After spending the weekend in jail, Alanis appeared in court Monday wearing cut-off denim shorts, a black-and-gray Under Armour athletic shirt and white tennis shoes. Alanis shuffled through the courtroom with his ankles cuffed together and both hands cuffed to a chain around his waist.
Torteya, the federal judge, walked Alanis through the charges against him.
The indictment charged Alanis with one count of conspiracy to possess more than 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute and two counts of possession of more than 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute.
If convicted, Alanis faces 10 years to life in federal prison.
The four-page indictment, however, contains few details about what Alanis actually did.
The conspiracy started in January 2020, according to the indictment, and stopped in March 2022.
Alanis participated in two separate schemes, which involved nearly 40 kilograms of cocaine — about 88 pounds.
In June 2020, he participated in a scheme that involved about 58 pounds of cocaine, according to the indictment. In August 2020, he participated in a scheme that involved about 30 pounds of cocaine.
Both schemes involved David Gomez Ramos, a man in his 30s from Mercedes, and Gregorio Salinas, a man in his 50s from Mercedes.
Jose Rosbel Salas, a man in his 40s from Weslaco, also participated in the conspiracy, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, which is prosecuting the case.
Salas pleaded guilty in May 2022.
The indictment does not explain what role each man played in the conspiracy, how they acquired the cocaine or who headed the drug trafficking organization.
Alanis is scheduled to return to court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for arraignment and detention hearings.