Special Report: Valley Officials Indicted
POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2009 - 4:42pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:33pm
Over the last year several high profile Valley officials have been busy in the courtroom indicted on a variety of charges. A County Sheriff, a Commissioner and a Valley mayor have all been indicted.
The Starr County Sheriff, the Brownsville mayor, and a Hidalgo County Commissioner are just a few of the many officials to be indicted. An indictment does not mean they have been found guilty. An indictment is a formal accusation that a person has committed a criminal offense.
Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, Hidalgo County Commissioner Sylvia Handy, and former Sheriff Reymundo Guerra all slapped with indictments brought forth by a grand jury.
In Starr County former Sheriff Reymundo Guerra in October 2008 was indicted on conspiring to smuggle drugs. Guerra was indicted by a Federal grand jury totaling 19 counts. He was charged along with a dozen others and accused of being involved in an operation called Carlito's Weigh, which is a large scale cocaine and marijuana operation.
Almost six months later in Federal Court May 1st, the former sheriff pleads guilty to a federal drug trafficking charge and admitting to sharing law enforcement information with a mexican drug ring.
We went to the the hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra to see what he thinks about Guerra pleading guilty to the charge.
"He gave us a bad name including all the Guerra's that are hard working Guerra's, he gave all of us a bad name. He didn't care so i am sorry i knew the man, whatever the federal judge gives him is well deserved."
Guerra could face life in prison, though that is not likely since he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.
He must pay a fine of $4-million-dollars.
Guerra will be sentenced in July 29th.
In Hidalgo County a list a people indicted including a county commissioner and several elections officials.
April 2009 County Commissioner Sylvia Handy named in a 6 count indictment accusing her and 3 others for Harboring Illegal's and Plotting to create a fake county employee with tax payer money. According to the indictment Handy is accused of hiring a house keeper and nanny paying their services with county money. She pleaded not guilty on April 2nd to charges of Harboring Illegal Immigrants for personal financial gain.
June 2008 former Hidalgo County elections supervisor Teresa Navarro and these employees indicted by a grand jury charged with Theft by a Public Servant Engaging in Criminal Activity and Tampering with Government Records. The investigation stemmed from an audit of the elections office that questioned vehicle rentals and fuel card purchases.
In Cameron County Brownsville mayor Pat Ahumada on March 26th, 2009 was indicted. A Cameron County jury indicted him with Abuse of official capacity and misapplication of fiduciary property and theft. The indictment accuses the mayor of stealing a $26,000 city check made payable to a vender New York. According to the indictment instead of going to the vendor's account, it allegedly went into Ahumada's account on October 28th.
Ahumada on April 8th, 2009 pleading not guilty to the charge of abuse of office and theft in front of a district judge.
A trial has been set for July and a pretrial in June.
Once again, those officials who have been indicted still have their day in court, they have not been convicted yet.