Federal agents arrested a former East Hidalgo Detention Center warden who they say had ties to a bond reduction scheme involving convicted former Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Ismael “Melo” Ochoa.
Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Elberto Esiquiel Bravo on Friday, as part of an investigation that claims he was an accessory after the fact in a bond reduction scheme involving Ochoa and defense attorney Terry Canales, a Democratic state representative from Edinburg, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Canales last week said he was the defense attorney for Luis Martinez-Gallegos, who was named in the criminal complaint against Sylvia San Juanita Vasquez as a defendant who had his $2.5 million bond reduced to $50,000, which allowed him to be released from the Hidalgo County Jail and deported to Mexico, allowing him to escape prosecution in the U.S.
Criminal complaints against Bravo and Vasquez — the first defendant charged federally in the case last week — do not identify Canales as being involved in the scheme. Rather, the complaints only say that a “local attorney” received a bribe alongside Ochoa, leading to his bond reduction and deportation.