Popular Posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

DA Murders, Stolen Heritage, South Texas Police Corruption

Texas DA's killing puts other prosecutors on alert

"KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — After one of his assistant prosecutors was gunned down in January, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland carried a gun everywhere, even when walking the dog.
On Saturday, McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their house. Authorities haven't said much about their investigation, including whether they have any leads or a theory about why the couple was killed. But law enforcement throughout Texas is on high alert, and steps are being taken to better protect other DAs and their staffs."

Stolen Heritage
I met a couple over the Easter weekend from Goliad who told me some of the history of that area I hadn't heard, involving, naturally, rich, powerful men (Anglos) who stole thousands of acres of land from Mexican families who had lived there for hundreds of years. They told me about a book, Stolen Heritage, by Abel Rubio. The book is out of print, so I was going to contact the author. Alas, when I googled his name, I found his obituary in the Victoria Advocate. Mr. Rubio was an admirable man. Orphaned at a young age, he volunteered for the Marines and served in the Korean War. He became a reporter, and spent years researching how his ancestors were cheated and extorted:
VICTORIA - Abel G. Rubio, Author, Historian and Speaker, passed away Monday, December 10, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Abel was born on August 13, 1930 in Goliad, Texas to Estefanita Garcia Rubio and Guillermo Rubio.

He was a direct descendant of some of the more prominent early old time Tejano ranching families who established and settled Refugio and Goliad Counties, the De La Garza, Cabrera and Becerra families. These ancestors explored and settled in the Texas wilderness over 300 years ago. He was a direct descendant of Juan Pedro Cabrera and Maria Rodriguez de Bega, from the Canary Islands, Spain, one of 15 families who helped establish a civil government in San Antonio de Bexar in 1731.
Perhaps some of his greatest contributions to Spanish/Mexican/Tejano History in Texas were some of his lectures, manuscripts and the writing of the book, "Stolen Heritage," a book on his families lost land grant. As Thomas Kreneck, historian and editor said, "He went about his task of writing and researching with the determination of a Marine and with the meticulousness of an Accountant." He searched county records, maps, standard histories and had many oral interviews with elder family members before putting information on paper. "Stolen Heritage" was written in memory of two of his most cherished ancestors: Great-Grandfather, Antonio de la Garza, a cattleman of the 1860's and 1870's, and his beloved wife, Abel's Great-Grandmother, Pomposa Bontan of Refugio County.

The villain of this story is Tom O'Connor, who could be the model for a Clint Eastwood western where the ruthless cattleman drivers out the original inhabitants. Sadly, there was no Clint Eastwood character to ride in and take up for the little people and evil prevailed.

Texas Observer online has a great article about law enforcement corruption in Hidalgo County, on the border, by Melissa del Bosque, titled Shadow of the Son. It starts:
"On a sweltering July afternoon in South Texas, Jose Perez found himself handcuffed in the front seat of a white Chevy Tahoe making his amends with God. His wife, also handcuffed, sat in the back seat, stricken with fear.

"Six armed men had just ransacked their home, turning over furniture and busting open cabinets, while another man pointed an assault rifle at their faces. The men wanted drugs. After finding nothing, they forced the 62-year-old Perez and his 59-year-old wife into the SUV. A man in a black Kevlar vest got behind the wheel, shouting obscenities and orders at the other men. He seemed like a man possessed, pulling at his hair and sweating profusely. He said they were cops from the Hidalgo County Police Department. But Perez knew no such agency existed, and he was terrified. These couldn’t be cops."

But they were cops, a gang straight out of the t.v. show "The Shield," led by none other than the son of the politically powerful sheriff.
Perez and his wife recounted the bizarre, frightening robbery and kidnapping to a sympathetic female officer at the police station. A security camera in Perez’s home had recorded the entire incident, he told her. Two internal affairs officers from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department arrived and asked to see the video. As the video rolled and the armed men came into the camera’s view, the color drained from the officers’ faces. “I know who that is,” one of them said. “That’s Jonathan Treviño. The sheriff’s son.”

The sheriff of Hidalgo County was Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño. The only things more important to the 64-year-old sheriff than his legacy as one of the most powerful law enforcement figures in South Texas were his three sons, especially his youngest, Jonathan, whom he was grooming to follow in his footsteps. The sheriff had engineered Jonathan’s quick rise in law enforcement. He made sure that Jonathan was appointed head of his own narcotics task force in late 2006—an unheard of assignment for a 22-year-old rookie fresh out of the academy. The six officers associated with the task force were Jonathan’s close friends, including Alexis Espinoza, who had his own family legacy to fulfill as the son of Hidalgo Police Chief Rudy Espinoza. They called themselves the Panama Unit.

Robert Caples, a former sheriff’s deputy, since 2005 has been fighting the corruption in the sheriff’s department. Check out his Facebook page he’d formed for a group he called American Protection Specialists, which, according to its mission statement, was a “movement to protect our Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley from drug cartels and corruption through reconnaissance and well-trained armed defenders.”American Protection Specialists.

Jury convicts ex-cop with child molestation past
An officer who spent five years with the China Grove Police Department despite a criminal history of child molestation was convicted Thursday of failure to register as a sex offender.

Daniel Casas Jr., who turns 50 Friday, now faces up to 20 years in prison.

No comments:

Post a Comment