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Former Dallas Narc Indicted: Drug Smuggling Case

A Dallas defense attorney who used to be a decorated undercover narcotics officer has been indicted in connection with a major drug smuggling operation between Mexico and Chicago.

Federal officials said Frank Perez, 48, was among the 25 people in four states charged with violations of federal drug laws. Mr. Perez was scheduled to appear in federal court in Dallas Friday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.

A 146-page FBI affidavit filed with the court said Mr. Perez helped the drug ring by tipping off Carlos Villasenor, its alleged leader, to what law enforcement officials were doing in their investigation.

Mr. Perez was indicted on charges of conspiring with Mr. Villasenor to possess and distribute marijuana and cocaine.

Mr. Perez left his 11-year career with the Dallas Police Department in 1993 to become a defense attorney.

He is known for his work in 1996 defending Johnnie Hernandez, the former Dallas police officer who pleaded guilty to solicitation of capital murder. Officials said Mr. Hernandez paid an undercover federal officer posing as a hit man to try to arrange the death of Dallas Cowboys All-Pro receiver Michael Irvin.

Mr. Perez received the Dallas Police Department's prestigious Officer of the Year award twice, in 1988 and 1989, during the height of the city's drug wars. He graduated from Southern Methodist University Law School in 1993.

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