Guerra joins former Brownsville Sheriff Conrado Cantu and several sheriffs caught up in commissary-related bribery schemes in the annals of disgraced, corrupt elected law enforcement officials lately hounded out of office. Reported the Brownsville Herald ("Starr Sheriff indicted in Gulf Cartel case," Oct. 14):
Sheriff Guerra was one of the members of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition that lobbied Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature to pony up more than $100 million in "Operation Linebacker" block grants to be distributed equally among the Sheriffs to use as they saw fit. We already knew the initiative wasn't being coordinated with other law enforcement efforts on the border. Now it appears some of that grant money was directly under control of a crooked cop working for the Gulf cartel. Ouch!
Guerra's imminent arrest had been telegraphed for weeks - ever since FBI agents searched his home and office in Rio Grande City on Sept. 4. Court documents later linked the raids to an ongoing probe into a smuggling ring led by Jose Carlos Hinojosa, 31, of Roma.
U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey touted the investigation later that month as one piece of a nationwide crackdown on Gulf Cartel operatives and their associates that had resulted in more than 175 arrests
So far, 14 men and women - mostly from Starr County and the Mexican city of Miguel Alemán - have been indicted in the Hinojosa case.
But despite the chatter that surrounded the sheriff, his fate remained unclear until the FBI returned to his office Tuesday morning and placed him under arrest."I'm shocked that this happened, because every indication that I had was that the sheriff's department was running smoothly, the best way I have seen in a long time,"
The Lege should cut their losses and decline to reauthorize those block grants in the 81st session - who knows what's happening with that money, but we know it wasn't doing much good toward reducing smuggling in Starr County!