Friday, January 23, 2015

South Texas corruption scandal deepens, prison warden arrested, state rep implicated

Yikes! A private prison warden has been arrested in South Texas as part of an ongoing federal corruption scandal for allegedly bribing a corrupt JP to reduce bond in a case where state Rep. Terry Canales was the defense attorney. How's that for a pie in the face the first week of session? From the McAllen Monitor:
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.
Canales denies all guilt and said he only filed a routine motion for bond reduction. (See the full story for more detail from the warden's indictment.) Maybe that's the case. As Grits opined in the comments over at Breitbart News, whose editors regard this as the only topic in the world on which they find Eric Holder and the Obama Administration 100% credible, this is a "Bad look, but if he's not been charged by now he may not be. The feds have been at this for years, I doubt they'd have moved on Bravo unless a) they really had the goods, or b) their purpose is to squeeze him to implicate Canales, in which case by implication they presently have no evidence against the state rep."

Who knows? The feds could move on Canales tomorrow or their case could never make, though it's clear he's been under intense investigation. Probably the only thing that may be safely assumed at the moment is that Canales, a second-term Democrat who last session served on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, enters the session politically wounded and personally distracted. The folks running that South Texas federal corruption probe are serious people who already sport quite a few politicians' heads on their trophy wall. Lord knows, guilty or innocent, if I were him I'd be nervous.


Anonymous said...

Who do we need to contact to get a North Texas Federal corruption probe started? It is rampant, with blatant disregard for any kind of civil rights, unless of course, you are a person, or a child of a person, of wealth.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually, the feds have been pretty active in Dallas. Ask John Wiley Price.

Anonymous said...

No story about corruption coming out of Hidalgo County is surprising any more ... just more of the same, to those who keep an eye on the endless stream of law enforcement and public officials heading to the penitentiary ... and those who have not yet made their way there yet. The whole county is a RICO prosecution waiting to happen. But Hidalgo is not alone - here's a wonderful story from Webb County: