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MCALLEN, Texas (Tribune News Service) — After some confusion on Friday, a federal judge set bond for the Alabama National Guardsman who attempted to pick up drugs while wearing his uniform and driving a Border Patrol vehicle in Texas last week.

Derrick Terelle Sankey, 21, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker on Friday, represented by his attorney, Crispin C. J. Quintanilla III.

Sankey was arrested Monday after he attempted to pick up and transport a kilogram of cocaine from an undercover agent at a restaurant in Hidalgo, Texas and take it to a hotel in McAllen for $1,000, according to a criminal complaint.

The detention hearing was split into two sessions when the judge was told the military planned to take custody of Sankey after his release.

The government attorneys, who were initially unopposed to his release on bond, changed their recommendation when they learned of the military’s pending custody.

Attorneys and military personnel present in the courtroom did not know if the Army planned to keep him in their custody and charge him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“ If we lose him, I made a bad decision,” Hacker said before ending the first session and allowing further discussion between U.S. attorneys, Sankey’s counsel and military personnel to sort out the question.

After the break, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Guerra Jr. said the Army affirmed they would not be proceeding with UCMJ charges against Sankey, and would, therefore, allow him to return to court proceedings in McAllen.

Hacker set an unsecured bond of $50,000 that will require a co-surety. Sankey’s mother is expected to be the guarantor.

Guerra said once Sankey is released on bond, he will remain in the Valley for about a week before being transported to Fort Bliss where he will be out-processed from his deployment.

Afterward, Sankey will be allowed to return to his home in Alabama.

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(c)2021 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)

Visit The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) at www.themonitor.com

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