AMARILLO — A hand-drawn map seized in a South Texas marijuana bust and a six-figure cash trail led Randall County investigators on a hunt to an Amarillo house.
After a months-long investigation into the finances of Jessie Sierra III, also known as Jesse Sierra III, authorities filed a seizure notice last week for the house at 3302 S. Hill St. — a home investigators said was purchased with drug money. The affidavit alleged Sierra, 32, bought the house with proceeds from sales of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy.
Federal authorities in October landed the map that pointed to the Hill Street home, what one suspect described as a “stash house where they were taking the marijuana,” court records show.
The border drug bust and other sources sparked narcotics investigators’ review of Sierra’s finances, Randall County Criminal District Attorney James Farren said.
Authorities reviewed Sierra’s bank statements showing he deposited more than $151,000 in a Wells Fargo account from late 2005 to June — cash they said he reaped from drugs sales. Sierra had applied for multiple lines of credit for car purchases and lied about his employment and income on the applications, investigators said.
Sierra’s monthly expenses often exceeded his legal monthly income during that same period, court records showed.
The fiscal investigation began earlier this year when Sierra’s defense attorney asked Randall County prosecutor Robert Love to end Sierra’s 10-year-probation sentence early. Love consulted investigators, who told him they’d heard Sierra was still selling “large amounts of both cocaine and marijuana,” the affidavit said.
In 2005, authorities executed a search warrant on the Hill Street house, where they found small traces of cocaine, drug packaging equipment and more than $2,000 in cash.
Sierra received the probation sentence a year later after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering, records show.
Randall County authorities tied Sierra and several others to more recent drug involvement after they executed another warrant Aug. 3. Investigators found Sierra’s cellphone with drug-related voicemails and contacts whom they knew to be drug traffickers, according to the court documents.
The home belongs to Felix Pacheco and is worth $101,556, according to county appraisal records. Prosecutors haven’t charged Pacheco with a crime.
Pacheco told investigators in a sworn affidavit he placed the Hill Street house in his own name “as a favor” to Sierra, court documents said.
Pacheco also told investigators he never paid any money for the house, nor did he live there, the affidavit said.
Bank statements showed the house was in Pacheco’s name, was bought with a $20,000 down payment and monthly mortgage payments of $743, mostly paid in cash, records show. Randall County prosecutors said they think Sierra made the payments.
Farren said he plans to file a motion to revoke Sierra’s probation.