FBI’s Most Wanted in Houston: Fugitives Sought in Texas [12/18/21]

fbi houston most wanted

FBI Four of the FBI Houston's Most Wanted. Pictured are Lei Gao (top left), Wilver Villegas-Palomino (top right), Tomas Alberto Roque Espinoza (bottom left), and Osondu Victor Igwilo (bottom right).

The FBI Houston is seeking dozens of fugitives wanted for federal crimes investigators say were committed in and around Houston. Several of the FBI’s most wanted are accused of committing crimes that affected victims worldwide, including cocaine trafficking and a $100 million scam.

The following people were listed among the FBI Houston’s most wanted. The charges they face are merely allegations. They are innocent until proven guilty.

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Here are some of the FBI Houston’s most wanted:

Lei Gao, Wanted on Possession of Trade Secrets

Lei Gao, 46, who uses the name “Jason,” is wanted on allegations of conspiracy and theft of trade secrets, according to the FBI. The FBI alleged that Gao conspired with others to obtain trade secrets from a Houston-based advanced coiled tubing manufacturer, which caused financial harm to the company.

“It is also alleged that Gao and others utilized the stolen trade secrets to assist in the development of an advanced coiled tubing product which they introduced to the market for sale in 2020,” the FBI wrote.

Gao left the United States in 2019, and they believe he is living in China. Gao is a Chinese national, the FBI said.

Wilver Villegas-Palomino, Wanted on International Cocaine Distribution Charges

The U.S. Department of State is offering up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Wilver Villegas-Palomino, 40, according to the FBI. He is a Columbian national and ranking member of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the FBI said. He is wanted on allegations of trafficking cocaine for the ELN Northeastern Warfront in the Catatumbo region of Colombia and Venezuela, according to the FBI.

Tomas Alberto Roque Espinoza, Wanted for Alleged Crimes Committed While Working as a Harris County Constable

Tomas Alberto Roque Espinoza, 45, was working as a Harris County constable when the FBI alleges he accepted money to escort and protect a vehicle that he believed was carrying more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and allegedly keeping drugs and money found in traffic stops, according to the FBI. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and a Hobbs Act violation, but the FBI says he fled before he was sentenced. Espinoza has ties to Honduras and Houston, the FBI said. The Hobbs Act pertains to extortion.

Osondu Victor Igwilo, Wanted for Allegedly Leading a $100 Million Scam

Osondu Victor Igwilo, 52, was accused of leading an advance-fee scheme from 2014 to 2016 that bilked victims out of $100 million, according to the FBI. The FBI says Igwilo led a worldwide criminal network in a scheme promising investment funding to victims by claiming to make offers through a commercial bank that he said was sponsored by the U.S. government.

“Using fake email accounts and stolen identities of bank employees and U.S. government officials, Igwilo and his co-conspirators found victims over the Internet, and allegedly deceived them into believing the investment opportunities were authentic,” the FBI wrote. “To further boost victims’ belief in the legitimacy of the investment, Igwilo allegedly recruited U.S. citizens to impersonate bank officials during in-person meetings with the victims.”

He is charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, according to the FBI. He is a Nigerian national.

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