Scope of Bond Scheme Investigation Grows in Texas


A federal investigation of a bond reduction scheme in Hidalgo County, Texas, is expanding, reports the McAllen Monitor. Federal agents have arrested Elberto Esiquiel Bravo, a former warden of a Hidalgo jail, who they allege had ties to a scheme involving a convicted former justice of the peace, Ismael “Melo” Ochoa. Also under scrutiny is defense attorney Terry Canales, a Democratic state representative from Edinburg, Texas.

Canales 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. That reduction allowed him to be released from the Hidalgo County Jail and deported to Mexico, thus escaping prosecution in the U.S. Criminal complaints against Bravo and Vasquez do not identify Canales as being involved in the scheme. Rather, the complaints say that a “local attorney” received a bribe alongside Ochoa, leading to his bond reduction and deportation.

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