Sunday, February 19, 2012

'Affidavit: Texas constable admits ordering bugging'

Out of the East Texas town of Tenaha, another remarkable story from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about an asset-forfeiture scandal, this time centered around an elected constable. The story opens:
A small-town Texas constable told the FBI he secretly bugged other officials' offices after they were accused of illegally forcing motorists to forfeit their cash, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The affidavit, based on interviews conducted by FBI agents and Texas Rangers, quotes Shelby County Constable Fred Walker as saying he authorized the installation of hidden surveillance cameras and digital recorders even though he didn't have legal authority. It also includes a statement from a witness who claims Walker helped organize a scheme to sell drugs seized from suspects.

It's just another chapter in a longtime drama in Tenaha, a town of 1,160 near the Louisiana border, where nearly $800,000 in cash seized from motorists stopped for traffic violations along U.S. Highway 59 has led to lawsuits and a federal criminal investigation of the county's former district attorney and other officials.

Walker, 53, was Tenaha's city marshal at the time the alleged bugging occurred. He was elected constable in 2010. ...

According to the affidavit, McClure told authorities that Walker had him install surveillance cameras disguised as smoke detectors and hidden voice-activated digital recording equipment in the offices of Tenaha Mayor George Bowers and deputy city marshal Barry Washington. Walker said he wanted to "cover" himself over the traffic stops, most of which were conducted by Washington, McClure said in the affidavit.

Walker acknowledged in an interview the same day that he had authorized the installation of the devices in Washington's office and at City Hall, the affidavit states.
What a pit! This story just keeps getting worse and worse.


Anonymous said...

Anyone know how many unsolved murders there have been in Tenaha since this organized crime syndicate has been in business there?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

For that matter, how many where the reports were "lost"! I can't wait for some of this to get into court where the whole story can be told, but from a distance it seems like there weren't many non-corrupt state actors there - certainly not that were speaking up.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the disgraced DA, Lynda K Russell, who was the mastermind behind the corruption of highway robbery in Tenaha has resigned and announced plans to relocate to Round Rock. She says it's to 'spend time with her mother'. Some are wondering if she has plans to join John Bradley in some of his shennagins.

Anonymous said...

Tenaha reminds me of San Jacinto County, and Sheriff James "Humpy" Parker. They still don't know the death count from his time in office: