Skip to comments.Ex-sheriff, deputy constable under arrest (South Texas)
Posted on 06/09/2005 9:46:01 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
BROWNSVILLE, - A sheriffs deputy slammed shut the gate at Conrado Cantus home Wednesday as federal agents left with property collected for an ongoing investigation that has landed the former lawman in jail.
Federal authorities arrested ex-Sheriff Cantu, his former captain, Pct. 1 Deputy Constable Rumaldo Rodriguez, and a former jail vendor on undisclosed criminal charges Wednesday.
The three men are scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate today.
Officials with the FBI, DEA and U.S. Customs confirmed their involvement in a Wednesday morning operation but would not provide details about the case against the defeated sheriff that was unseated last year.
Under federal law, U.S. Customs investigates smuggling and immigration cases, the DEA investigates drug trafficking cases and the FBI investigates a wide range of cases, including money laundering and racketeering.
Cantu, Rodriguez and Garcia remained in custody at the Brownsville City Jail Wednesday night.
Cantus attorney Ernesto Gamez said the indictment against his client and the others should be unsealed after their court appearance today.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.
For the last 40 yrs the borders have seen trillions of dollars worth of drugs pass over...
It is not too difficult to imagine LEOs from the highest placed Feds to the lowliest prison guards taking a piece
here and there..
The temptation to make a million and then retire when so many
others are doing it...must be great..
We have needed to shut those borders down for many years now
Even before Mena...and the FOBs drugged America stupid..
10-count indictment against Cantu, four others
Valley Morning Star
Former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu and four others were indicted in federal court Thursday morning on charges that include extortion, drug trafficking, witness tampering, bribery and obstruction of law enforcement.
The U.S. Attorneys office said Cantu, 49, former Sheriffs Department Captain Rumaldo Rodriguez, 50, and Geronimo Garcia, 33, a former operator of the Cameron County Jail commissary, were part of a criminal enterprise that used the sheriffs department and their positions to protect and assist persons involved in illegal activity while generating income for themselves and their associates.
Also named in the indictment are Reynaldo Uribe and Hector Solis. Uribe, 41, was arrested Wednesday at Garcias residence and Solis, 40, was arrested Thursday morning at Pepes restaurant in Brownsville.
Cantu faces fines of $5.5 million and sentences of up to life in prison.
Cantu and Garcia are charged with extorting $5,000 on July 15, 2004 from an alleged drug trafficker in exchange for giving the man information about ongoing investigation. Cantu, Garcia and Rodriguez are also charged with receiving $13,000 from other alleged drug traffickers in exchange for not arresting them.
Cantu, Garcia and Uribe are accuse of laundering drug money between June 21, 2004 and December 31, 2004, while Cantu was sheriff.
The U.S. Attorneys office has also charged Solis and Cantu with obstructing state law enforcement, alleging that in October, 2004, Cantu told Solis that there would be no raid against a gambling establishment on a particular date.
The last count of the indictment charges Cantu and Garcia with conspriracy to possess more than a kilogram of cocaine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana between June 1998 and December 2004. If convicted of this charge, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $4 million fine.
Cantu was arrested by federal agents at about 10 a.m.Wednesday, after he left his home in San Benito. Rodriguez was arrested about an hour later at the constables office in Port Isabel where he works. Garcia was arrested at about the same time at his Brownsville home.
Cantu was elected Cameron County sheriff in 2000. He was defeated in his re-election bid in the 2004 primary. In March 2004, he was charged with abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly asking deputies and county jail personnel to assist his re-election by joining him on a block-walking campaign. Those charges were dismissed on March 4, due to faulty complaint.
Hilda Treviño, a lieutenant and supervisor of jail guards, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in January 2003, against Cantu and Cameron County, claiming that she was fired for reporting sexual misconduct between jailers and female inmates. Federal officials removed female prisoners from the county jail after these reports surfaced, costing Cameron County hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost federal payments for housing prisoners.
This has been going on for years. A retired Texas Trooper told me of how a colleague of his, back when he was on the force, someone who he thought he knew well, was caught assisting drug smugglers move dope from Texas to Illinois. A wide majority of officers would never do such a thing, and the Troopers go through the most strict background checks possible, but given the money its just a matter of time until someone (out of the thousands of officers) agrees to a price.
With small departments, the background work may not be so strict [understatement], and of course positions like Sheriff are elected directly.
Do a county by county comparison of drug arrests and convictions along the border and the contrasts will startle you. It's easy to see who has been bought.
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