Law Enforcement
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June 26, 2017

Arrests,  
June 19-26:
Officers cuff 15

By Marc Robertson
Fifteen individuals were taken into custody over the past week in La Salle County, in addition to a number who were cuffed and placed on hold for collection by other law enforcement agencies.

One man was arrested for trespassing less than ten hours after having been released from jail, where he had been held on a public intoxication charge. He had also served jail time between May and June on other charges.

Those jailed between Monday, June 19, and Monday, June 26, with arrests made by sheriff’s deputies, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol, the Cotulla Patrol Division and the Encinal Police Department, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, were as follows:

Abraham Guajardo, 22, of Laredo; arrested 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in Webb County for larceny and theft of a firearm; transferred after two days, 20 hours.

Pablo Esquivel, 21, of Laredo; arrested 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in Webb County for reckless bodily injury to a child, elderly or disabled person, and for family violence assault causing bodily injury; transferred after two days, 20 hours.

Juan Manuel Trevino, 34, of Laredo; arrested 8:18 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued for violating a promise to appear in court on charges of speeding and driving without a license; released on bond after 14 hours.

Jermain Corey Williams, 25, of Saint Stephens Fork, Alabama; arrested 5:40 p.m. Thursday, June 22, by the Encinal Police Department; first-degree felony aggravated assault upon a public servant, third-degree felony evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle, Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest, search or transport; remains in jail as of June 26.

Miguel Angel Vasquez, 26, of Cotulla; arrested 5 p.m. Thursday, June 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for second-degree felony injury to a child, third-degree felony retaliation or obstruction (two counts), and Class A misdemeanor purchasing alcohol for a minor (three counts); released on bond after one day, six hours.

Brandon Lee Ruiz, 19, of Dilley; arrested 3:20 a.m. Friday, June 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, warrant issued in La Salle County for state jail felony credit or debit card abuse; remains in jail as of June 26.

Juan Carlos Vallejo Jr., 31, of Robstown, Texas; arrested 1:40 p.m. Friday, June 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; five days jail commitment; remains in jail as of June 26.

Juan Ramon Perales Jr., 42, of Cotulla; arrested 2:45 p.m. Friday, June 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to appear in court on a charge of public intoxication; released on bond after one day, two hours.

Anthony Luis Salazar, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 4:55 p.m. Friday, June 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to appear in court and violating a promise to appear in court; released on bond after 17 hours.

Tyron Hector Roman, 24, of Cotulla; arrested 2:20 a.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after eight hours.

Jimmy Flores Gutierrez, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 2:07 a.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after ten hours. Arrested 9:51 p.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Cotulla City Patrol; Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass; remains in jail as of June 26.

Randi Arizola Flores, 25, of Cotulla; arrested 11:25 a.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving with an expired vehicle registration, driving with an expired motor vehicle inspection certificate, failing to show proof of liability insurance, violating a promise to appear in court, and failing to appear in court (two counts); court-ordered release after one day, five hours.

Jason V. Perez, 34, of Pearsall; arrested 1:52 p.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia, Class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A; released on bond after 21 hours.

Jenny Danielle Cruz, 19, of Encinal; arrested 8:12 p.m. Saturday, June 24, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of terroristic threat against a family or household member; remains in jail as of June 26.

Jesus R. Alvarado, 47, of Cotulla; arrested 10:43 a.m. Sunday, June 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor evading arrest or detention, Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief up to $2,500 in damage, Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass; remains in jail as of June 26.

June 26, 2017

JP signs arrest new arrest warrants

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for a number of defendants who have failed to make court appearances or meet other court obligations after being cited on misdemeanor and other charges.

The following should present themselves immediately at the JP’s office on Center Street in downtown Cotulla and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone:

Gina Rae Aguero, 24, of Jourdanton, Texas; driving while license is suspended or not valid.

Cody Lane Aguilar, 59, of Lytle, Texas; failing to maintain financial responsibility, speeding.

Tito Alberto Garcia, 27, of Laredo; failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving while license is suspended or not valid, speeding.

Carlos Alberto Gonzalez, 27, of Cotulla; violating a promise to appear in court (two counts), driving without a license (two counts), seatbelt violation, speeding.

Myrta Galvan Martinez, 53, of Cotulla; disregarding a signal at a railroad crossing, disregarding a stop sign or traffic signal.

Crystal Olvera, 31, of Cotulla; failing to appear in court, contributing to non-attendance (two counts).

Angelica Renee Rios, 26, of Cotulla; violating a promise to appear in court, failing to maintain financial responsibility.

Juan Ramiro Sosa Jr., 20, of Cotulla; violating a promise to appear in court (two counts), window tint violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license is not valid (three counts), passing in a no-passing zone, failing to maintain financial responsibility.

Miguel Angel Torres, 40, of Dallas; violating a promise to appear in court, speeding, driving without a license.

Joe Delmiro Villanueva, 51, of Pearsall; speeding.

Those for whom warrants are being signed will be subject to arrest at home, at work, or in the course of a traffic stop if they are identified by a sheriff’s deputy, officer of the Cotulla Patrol Division, state trooper, constable or other law enforcement officer. Additional misdemeanor charges may be filed against those who fail to cooperate with court orders.

June 25, 2017

"Shouting at people who weren't there..."

Trespasser bathed with hose, fell off barn, officers report

By Marc Robertson
A Cotulla man was taken into custody Sunday morning, June 25, at a residence on the outskirts of town where he had allegedly washed himself with water from a garden hose before running from officers, falling off a barn roof and then leaping into a swimming pool.

Reports on the case indicate that Jesus Alvarado, 47, had made his way onto the property, connected a garden hose and was washing himself, saluting the American flag and speaking to imaginary people.

La Salle County Deputies Juan Mirelez and Jose Solis were dispatched to the home on Dobie Road before 10 a.m. Sunday and arrived to meet the homeowner who had reported the trespasser. Within a short time of officers arriving at the home, Deputy Mirelez said, the trespasser’s voice could be heard.

“We went to the house in response to a call regarding an unwanted subject partially clothed, washing himself with water from a garden hose,” the deputy said. “We were speaking with the property owner when we heard shouting and screaming.

“Alvarado was on the back lawn of the home, holding the garden hose to his chest with the water running, saluting flags that aren’t there and shouting at people who weren’t there,” Mirelez said. “He also appeared to be shouting at horses.”

Alvarado allegedly dropped the garden hose and fled into the brush barefoot when he saw officers approaching.

“He ran around the house, around the barn, along a fence line, and then he crawled through a set of tractor tires,” Mirelez said. “Then he jumped over the fence and disappeared into the brush before we could reach him.”

Within fifteen minutes of losing track of the barefoot man, the deputies were recalled to the residence, where they were joined by Deputy Jose Avila, in response to a report that the man had allegedly reappeared and had climbed onto the roof of a barn.

“We were on our way back to the house regarding the second sighting when we were told that the property owner was on the phone with the emergency dispatcher and was reporting that Alvarado was on the barn roof,” Mirelez said. “Then we learned that Alvarado had fallen off the barn roof.”

The deputies noted that Alvarado again tried to evade capture, this time running from the barn to the residence on the property and climbing into a non-operational vehicle. Finding that he could not drive the pickup truck, Alvarado jumped into the family’s swimming pool. It was from there that he was encouraged to surrender.

“We understand that this was the first time in many years that Alvarado had been to the house,” Mirelez said. “We are not sure what it was that he wanted there, but there are indications that he may have tried to make repairs to a breaker box, that he disconnected or cut some wires and tried to secure some of the wires and the door to the box with duct tape. There are also indicators that he attempted to steal an all-terrain vehicle and that he took it for a joyride, causing damage to it.”

Officers have reported that Alvarado said he had gone to the property to make repairs to a pond and that he had jumped into the pond and had discovered “sharp metal objects” in the water. There are no reports of the homeowner having asked Alvarado to perform any work at the pond.

The deputy noted that Alvarado exhibited violent behavior while in custody, that he attempted to kick open the patrol vehicle doors while he was being transported to jail, and that he later told staff at the county jail that he had swallowed a ball of cocaine. The man was treated at the jail by medics of the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS but was found not to be suffering any effects from drug ingestion, according to the deputy.

Charges against the man include Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief up to $2,500 in value, Class A misdemeanor evading arrest or detention, and Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass. He remains in jail as of Monday, June 26.

June 23, 2017

Dilley teen in custody for assault...

House guest stabbed in belly
during fight over couch space

By Marc Robertson
A Dilley teenager was arrested in Cotulla last week on felony charges in connection with a stabbing during an alleged argument over who should be sleeping on a couch as a house guest, according to investigators.

Identified as 19-year-old Brandon Lee Ruiz, the suspect in the case is accused of having used a knife to stab a man with whom he had become involved in a late-night altercation when both claimed rights to sleep on a couch as guests of an elderly resident on Carrizo Street.

The La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS dispatched medics to the apartment at around 2:30 a.m. Friday, June 23, in response to a distress call regarding serious injuries to a man who had been staying at the apartment as a guest of the listed resident, Glenn Roberts.

La Salle County Deputies Andres Flores and Mike Hernandez were also dispatched and were joined at the scene by Investigator Homar Olivarez, who noted in a brief statement on the case that it appeared both men had been allowed to stay at the apartment but that violence had ensued in an argument regarding sleeping arrangements.

The report indicates Ruiz had appeared at the apartment during the day on June 23 and had told Roberts that he did not have a place to live and needed shelter. Sheriff’s
Felony assault charge:
Brandon Ruiz, 19
deputies have confirmed that Roberts agreed to let Ruiz stay at the apartment and that the pair spent the evening talking. Late at night, however, another of Roberts’ house guests appeared, demanded to be able to sleep on the couch, Olivarez said, and asked Ruiz to leave.

“It appears they took the argument outside, and that Ruiz had a knife,” Olivarez said. “The other house guest, a man in his mid-thirties, sustained critical injuries, including deep lacerations to the abdomen and arm.”

The injured man was transported by helicopter to San Antonio for treatment.

Deputies investigating the apparent assault interviewed witnesses and determined that Ruiz was a potential suspect. The teen was discovered shortly thereafter and was questioned. Officers then noted that Ruiz was a wanted fugitive and that an arrest warrant had been issued for him in La Salle County on a state jail felony charge of credit or debit card abuse.

Ruiz has since been charged with second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in custody as of Monday, June 26.

June 19, 2017

Arrests,  
June 12-19:
Officers cuff 12

By Marc Robertson
Twelve individuals were taken into custody during the past week in La Salle County, according to the sheriff’s office, with arrests made by local deputies and by troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those charged, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla between Monday, June 12, and Monday, June 19, are as follows:

Jose Pablo Vargas-Castillo, 30, of Von Ormy, Texas; arrested 10:41 p.m. Monday, June 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; bond forfeiture, warrant issued in Travis County, Texas; hold for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement; remains in jail as of June 19.

Jairo Omar Hernandez, 22, of Atascosa, Texas; arrested 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court, driving without a license, and failure to appear in court on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of June 19.

Sheley Mae Mangum, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 4:25 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of purchasing alcohol for minors; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Adam Vitela, 27, of Atascosa, Texas; arrested 12:44 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, by the Sheriff’s Office; bench warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon upon a public servant; remains in jail as of June 19.

Omar Orlando Ortegon, 30, of Kingsville, Texas; arrested 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; detention commitment; remains in jail as of June 19.

Raquel Ermelinda Salyer, 30, of Corpus Christi; arrested 6:10 p.m. Thursday, June 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; remains in jail as of June 19.

Jesse Stewart Cotton, 39, of Corpus Christi; arrested 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after one day, two hours.

Quincy Dean Enoch, 33, of Victoria, Texas; arrested 3:15 p.m. Friday, June 16, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is not valid and for driving with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, and warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction, and for failing to maintain financial responsibility; remains in jail as of June 19.

Arturo Eusebio Campos, 23, of Cotulla; arrested 7:29 p.m. Friday, June 16, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court, failing to maintain financial responsibility, speeding, and bail jumping; released on bond after three hours.

Carlos Fernando Estrada Jr., 23, of Laredo; arrested 9:01 p.m. Saturday, June 17, by the Texas DPS; state jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Class A misdemeanor unlawfully carrying a weapon; hold for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement; released after one day, 17 hours.

Arturo B Castor, 37, of Cotulla; arrested 2:18 a.m. Sunday, June 18, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to meet court obligations on charges of failing to use a seat belt, driving while license is not valid, and violating a promise to appear in court; released on bond after seven hours.

Martin Martinez, 51, of Cotulla; arrested 6:38 p.m. Sunday, June 18, by the Sheriff’s Office; court-ordered commitment for misdemeanor offense; court-ordered release after 13 hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Hugo Salinas Hernandez, 47, transferred after 62 days, four hours; John Brian Molina, released on bond after 90 days, seven hours; Jimmy Flores Gutierrez, court-ordered release after 17 days, 18 hours; Gloria Edith Rueda, court-ordered release after 14 days, 22 hours; and Cheryl Franklin Milum, court-ordered release after 11 days, 18 hours.       

June 15, 2017

Community rallies for Gardendale family after fire

Gonzalez couple and four children lost all possessions in home blaze

By Marc Robertson
South Texas area residents are coming to the aid of a Gardendale family that lost its home and all of its possessions in a fire on Thursday evening, June 15, and calls have begun to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office with offers of funds, food, furnishings and clothing.

Emergency responders were dispatched shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday to a homestead on Oxford Street in the rural trackside community some five miles north of Cotulla to find that fire was quickly spreading through a mobile home belonging to David and Elvira Gonzalez.

The couple and four children, ages 14, 13, 8 and 4, were not at home at the time of the fire, having been at the youths’ softball practice and other functions. The family’s two dogs were likewise not in the home and escaped injury.

Members of the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS and the Dilley Volunteer Fire Department joined forces to battle the blaze that moved quickly through the mobile home and its addition. The residence and all of its contents have been declared a total loss, according to the sheriff’s office. The fire was largely extinguished by sundown; firefighters remained on scene to tackle hotspots and to maintain a safe perimeter while the remnants of the structure collapsed.
Firefighters advance on a blaze that has engulfed a mobile home in Gardendale on Thursday evening, June 15.
(Courtesy photo) 

"Going to need a lot of help, just to make it
from day to day"
- Rosario Morales
La Salle County Victims' Advocate

Preliminary reports indicate the fire may have been caused by an electrical fault.  

La Salle County Victims’ Advocate Rosario Morales met with family members at the scene of the fire to assess the extent of the loss and has made contact with the American Red Cross in order to secure emergency assistance. Meanwhile, calls have begun coming from all quarters of the community with offers of help, she noted.

"A family with four children who have all lost everything they owned is going to need a lot of
help, just to make it from day to day,” Morales said. Immediate needs include clothing and toiletries as well as financial assistance in securing temporary accommodations for the family. Long-term needs will include housewares, furniture, kitchenware, linens and bedding.

All those offering assistance of any kind or making inquiries about clothing size and other needs should call Morales at the sheriff’s office, (830) 879-3044.   
A mobile home and its addition in Gardendale teeter on the verge of collapse shortly before sundown Thursday. A family of six lost all of its possessions in the fire.
(Courtesy photo) 

June 12, 2017

JP signs new warrants this week

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for a number of defendants who have failed to make court appearances or meet other court obligations after being cited on misdemeanor and other charges.

The following should present themselves immediately at the JP’s office on Center Street in downtown Cotulla and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone:

Luis Alfonso Pompa, 32, of Dallas; speeding.
Adrian Rodriguez, 34, of Eagle Pass, violating a promise to appear in court, driving while license is suspended.
Ruben Salinas Jr., 29, of Cotulla; driving while license is suspended or not valid, failure to comply with a court order, disorderly conduct.
Alexandra Mariah Sanchez, 18, of Cotulla; driving without a license.
Nathan Valdez, 26, of Pearsall; failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving without a license, violating a promise to appear in court.
Rudy Tom Valenzuela, 27, of Alice, Texas; failure to comply with a court order or to appear in court, permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle.
Amos Terrell Williams Jackson, 32, of Kirby, Texas; speeding.
Jesse Zavaca, 25, of San Benito, Texas; possession of drug paraphernalia, violating a promise to appear in court.
Edna Sandra Jaime, 54, of Carrizo Springs; driving while license is not valid, violating a promise to appear.
Ramiro Garza Rendon, 58, of Rio Bravo, Texas; speeding.

Those for whom warrants are being signed will be subject to arrest at home, at work, or in the course of a traffic stop if they are identified by a sheriff’s deputy, officer of the Cotulla Patrol Division, state trooper, constable or other law enforcement officer. Additional misdemeanor charges may be filed against those who fail to cooperate with court orders.

June 12, 2017

Arrests,  
June 5-12:
Officers cuff 14

By Marc Robertson
Fourteen individuals were arrested in La Salle County on a range of charges between June 5 and 12, with arrests made by sheriff’s deputies, officers of the Cotulla City Patrol and troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, are as follows:

Oscar Gilberto De La Cruz Jr., 35, of Cotulla; arrested 2:10 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court, driving without a license, driving with a defective taillight, and failing to provide proof of liability insurance; remains in jail as of Monday, June 12.

Abelino Mauricio Montemayor, 38, of Kyle, Texas; arrested 2:53 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid; released on bond after 23 hours.

Jorge Pena, 30, of Cotulla; arrested 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for Class C theft; released on bond after one hour.

Genevieve Ann Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio; arrested 8:52 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; detention commitment; remains in custody as of Monday, June 12.

Rudy Michael Sosa, 29, of Encinal; arrested 9:58 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle District Court for revocation of probation, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after 23 hours.

Cheryl Franklin Milum, 49, of San Benito, Texas; arrested 9:58 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to meet court obligations on a seatbelt violation charge and failing to signal correctly; remains in jail as of Monday, June 12.

Ernesto Jose Hernandez, 30, of Cotulla; arrested 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction; released on bond after 20 hours.

Roberto Ugarte, 25, of San Antonio; arrested 9:21 p.m. Thursday, June 8, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is invalid with a previous conviction; released on bond after one day.

Jesus Alberto Fernandez, 25, of Laredo; arrested 11:45 p.m. Thursday, June 8, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor theft less than $99 in value; court-ordered release after 15 hours.

Jonathan Edward Virjan, 26, of Laredo; arrested 11:51 p.m. Thursday, June 8, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor theft less than $99 in value; court-ordered release after 15 hours.

Byron Wade Kahla, 55, of Cypress, Texas; arrested 6:06 p.m. Friday, June 9, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in Frio County for failure to appear in court, bond forfeiture; released on bond after 20 hours.

Brandon Lee Munoz, 23, of Cotulla; arrested 10:42 p.m. Friday, June 9, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to meet a court obligation on a misdemeanor charge of speeding; released on bond after one hour.

Belinda Diane Fletcher, 53, of Cotulla; arrested 10:24 a.m. Saturday, June 10, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County Court for third-degree felony stalking; remains in jail as of Monday, June 12.

Horace Dudley Storey V, 19, of Cotulla; arrested 3:08 a.m. Sunday, June 11, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after 11 hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Leticia Hernandez, transferred after 17 days, nine hours; Crystal Dawn Williams, released on bond after seven days, 19 hours; Clemen Benito Apolinar, transferred after five days, one hour; Adolfo Penaloza Mondragon, transferred after nine days, 23 hours; and Martin Martinez, court-ordered release after 13 hours.   

June 8, 2017

"They are cleverly worded..."

Email banking scams persist, investigators say

By Marc Robertson
Reiterating his message to the public that “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true,” La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez joined Sgt. Rickey Galvan this week in reminding area residents to beware of persistent and cleverly worded email messages that conceal financial scams.

“Don’t let your guard down, and never give away personal information,” the sheriff said Thursday, June 8, after a new report was filed at his office regarding a series of email messages that appear to come from banks and tax filing organizations. “Some of these email messages look legitimate, but you have to ask yourself, ‘Would my bank ask me for this information?’ and then delete any messages that look suspicious.”

Taking a report from a retiree living in Cotulla on Thursday, Sgt. Galvan said a number of emails sent to a personal address looked as though they had been sent by a bank, while others looked as though they had been sent by a tax filing company. The emails suggested in their subject lines that funds were being drawn from credit cards and, in some cases, resembled a form of alert, notifying an account holder that unauthorized activity had been detected.

"There was no such account...
She had spotted the beginnings of a scam attempt..."
-Sgt. Rickey Galvan

“The lady reporting some of these mysterious emails had seen these apparent alerts and was concerned that there was, in fact, an account in her name and that funds were being drawn from it,” the sergeant said. “She quickly realized that there was no such account and that she had spotted the beginnings of a scam attempt.”

In some cases, according to both the sergeant and the sheriff, email recipients are asked to confirm their banking information in order to “prevent unauthorized activity” on any account they may hold.

Galvan says no one should ever reveal any personal banking information in an email.

“If the bank has a problem or has actually detected possibly fraudulent activity in your account, the bank already has all your personal information, including account number,” the
sergeant said. “They will never ask you to send that information back to them. It doesn’t make sense. But these emails look convincing. They are cleverly worded to make it seem as though this is the real thing. Trust me; it’s not.”

In a recent example, Galvan said, an email purporting to come from the Wells Fargo bank had been written so poorly that the bank’s name itself had been misspelled. In a further example, the name ‘H&R Block’ was missing its ampersand symbol.

“One of the obvious signs is the poor English grammar, punctuation and spelling,” Galvan said. “The IRS is never going to send you an email calling itself ‘Irs.’ That was an easy one to spot, but others are less obvious.”

The elderly and those who do not regularly use social media are particularly at risk of fraud, the sergeant said.

“There are a lot of tricks out there, to get you to part with your money, and people who aren’t familiar with the latest terms or the latest scams are especially targeted,” Galvan said. “If you’re in doubt at all, go in person to your bank and speak to a representative about security measures. Never call a number that someone sent in an email, and never click on a link in an email if you are not a hundred percent sure who sent it.”



HELP PREVENT FRAUD:
A FEW REMINDERS FROM THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE

* A bank already knows your account information and will never ask you for it by email or by phone.

* Never share your social security number, date of birth, home address, bank account number or those of your family members with anyone by phone or email.  

* If you do not have an account or a card with the bank or credit company that is sending you emails, you have no reason to open their emails.

* Watch for misspelled words, bad grammar, inaccurate logos and other incorrect details in any email claiming to come from a financial institution or service provider.

* Unless you specifically asked your bank or credit/debit card company to send you updates, you should not receive any financial information by email or phone text.

* When in doubt, speak in person to a staff member at your own bank branch.

* Immediately report any unauthorized activity in your bank account to your bank and, if necessary, file a theft report with law enforcement.

* When using a credit or debit card, ensure that it is blocked from use outside the United States. Before traveling abroad, call the 1-800 number on the card to lift the international block for the dates you will be using the card in a foreign country.

* Always keep your PIN and bank account information separate. Never share your PIN or account number with another person or by email.

* If you choose to send money by wire, such as by Western Union, be aware that it cannot be traced or refunded after it has been collected; always ensure that you know the person to whom you are sending money.

* Never agree to purchase items unseen online, by email or by phone from a non-commercial vendor such as on Craigslist or a Facebook Buy-Sell-Trade page. When shopping online, ensure that you are doing so over a secure channel; look for the “https” in the address bar on your screen.

* Vendors offering to pay you for a service by sending you a check to cash are not legitimate; checks sent for services such as advertising are fraudulent.

* Never accept a check from a vendor if the person sending you funds wants you to cash the check and return a portion of the money or pay a third party; the checks are fraudulent.

* Do not open email links or reply to email messages from companies with whom you do not have an account.

* Never click on a link in a message offering to “update your service” or “link to your account,” as these contain viruses. Messages may appear to come from sources such as telephone companies, electricity providers, banks and credit card companies, but are fraudulent.

June 6, 2017

Fugitive locked himself in car with weed, officers say

By Marc Robertson
A man listed as wanted on a felony warrant from district court in La Salle County has been remanded into custody after locking himself in his car with three bags of marijuana and refusing to comply with officers’ instructions.

Identified as 29-year-old Rudy Sosa of Encinal, the man was spotted late Tuesday, June 6, at the wheel of a vehicle with out-of-state license plates in downtown Cotulla and may have tried to conceal himself from sheriff’s deputies by parking in the driveway of a residence on First Street, turning off his vehicle’s lights and lying down in his seat.

An arrest warrant had been signed on June 1 for Sosa after the man reportedly failed to comply with the conditions of his probation related to a state jail felony drug conviction. Sosa had been sentenced in February to three years’ probation for possession of marijuana and is listed as having refused to pay fines associated with the conviction.   
According to a report on the case, sheriff’s deputies had been notified that the fugitive was in the First Street neighborhood on the night of
Arrested: Rudy Sosa
June 6 and that he was driving a green sedan. Deputies Armando Lopez, Jose Solis and Cesar Villarreal were among those patrolling the neighborhood and quickly spotted the suspect’s vehicle at the intersection of Baylor and First streets. The suspect, however, committed a traffic violation in his attempt to evade capture and was pursued onto First St., where he parked in front of a residence.

Deputy Lopez noted in a brief statement that Sosa appeared to have fully reclined his seat in the vehicle but had left the engine running when he parked in the 500 block of First Street.

Sosa kept officers waiting for more than twenty minutes by refusing to comply with instructions, remained in the car with the windows closed and was observed attempting to conceal a bag of marijuana by placing it under his seat, according to Deputy Lopez. The officer said that each of the deputies at the scene had already spotted the bag of marijuana that was lying in plain view on the vehicle’s passenger seat. Sosa was also observed making a cellphone call from inside the car while sheriff’s deputies were knocking on the windows to persuade him to surrender. 

The officers were assisted by Deputies Enrique Velez and Michael Sauceda in coaxing Sosa to provide his driver’s license. The suspect did so, thereby confirming that he was the man who had been listed as a wanted fugitive.

When Sosa eventually agreed to leave his vehicle shortly before 10 p.m., he was remanded into custody on the felony warrant and transported to the La Salle County Jail. He faces a marijuana possession charge after officers examining his vehicle discovered the bag of marijuana that Sosa had been seen to place under his seat and two further bags of marijuana that had been concealed inside a music player case. 

June 5, 2017

JP signs warrants for court dodgers

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for a number of defendants who have failed to make court appearances or meet other court obligations after being cited on misdemeanor and other charges.

The following should present themselves immediately at the JP’s office on Center Street in downtown Cotulla and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone:

Stephanie Jacqueline Alcala, 22, of Laredo; speeding.
David A Colchado, 43, of Cotulla; contributing to non-attendance (two counts).
Ira Lee Davis, 35, of Cotulla; speeding.
Gilbert Cruz, 35, of Dilley; public intoxication, traveling with an open container in the motor vehicle, failure to appear in court.
Jose Luis Hernandez, 42, of Cotulla; driving without a commercial driver’s license, speeding, failure to appear in court.
Ashley Celestina Lucio, 19, of Laredo; driving without a license, safety belt violation by a passenger under the age of 17, violating a promise to appear in court.
Tyler James Magliolo, 27, of Shoreacres, Texas; hunting without an upland game bird stamp, violating a promise to appear in court.
Rogelio Mendoza III, 28, of Laredo; driving without a license, speeding, violating a promise to appear in court.
Isaiah Mendez, 21, of Cotulla; failure to appear in court.
Javier Perez Jr, 35, of La Pryor, Texas; window tint violation.

Those for whom warrants are being signed will be subject to arrest at home, at work, or in the course of a traffic stop if they are identified by a sheriff’s deputy, officer of the Cotulla Patrol Division, state trooper, constable or other law enforcement officer. Additional misdemeanor charges may be filed against those who fail to cooperate with court orders.  

June 5, 2017

Arrests, 
May 29 -
June 5:
Officers cuff 14

By Marc Robertson
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that 14 individuals were taken into custody over the past week, with arrests made on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges.

Arrests were carried out by sheriff’s deputies and officers of the Cotulla Patrol Division. In one incident, a father and son were arrested at the same time on assault charges.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, between Monday, May 29, and Monday, June 5, are as follows:

Crystal Dawn Williams, 38, of Fort Worth; arrested 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for possession of marijuana; remains in jail as of June 5.

Alex Alberto Benavidez, 20, of Cotulla; arrested 2:54 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor purchasing or furnishing alcohol to a minor; released on bond after two days, 16 hours.

Leslie Rene Casillas, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 1:17 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief up to $750 in damages, warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for payment of a fine on a Class C misdemeanor charge of theft; released on bond after eight hours.

Edith Gloria Rueda, 36, of San Antonio; arrested 5:05 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued for revocation of probation for failure to appear in court on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of June 5.

St Paul Perales Jr., 59, of Cotulla; arrested 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after 20 hours.

Tito Cardenas, 51, of Cotulla; arrested 1:05 p.m. Thursday, June 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; serving sentence with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; remains in custody as of June 5.

Juan Carlos Vallejo Jr., 31, of Robstown, Texas; arrested 12 p.m. Thursday, June 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; jail commitment for violating conditions of probation; released after three days.

Ysmael Tellez, 61, of Cotulla; arrested 3:20 p.m. Thursday, June 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; sentence with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; remains in custody as of June 5.

Mauro Santoya, 50, of Cotulla; arrested 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class C misdemeanor assault; released on bond after eight hours.

Mauro Santoya Jr., 26, of Cotulla; arrested 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class C misdemeanor assault; released on bond after eight hours.

Clemen Benito Apolinar, 24, of Austin; arrested 12:35 p.m. Friday, June 2, by the Cotulla City Patrol; warrant issued in Travis County for Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; remains in jail as of June 5.

Adolfo Penaloza Mondragon, 23, of Mexico; arrested 12:46 p.m. Friday, June 2, by the Cotulla City Patrol; warrant issued in Collin County for failing to identify or giving false information; remains in jail as of June 5.

Julian Mojica Jr., 37, of Cotulla; arrested 2:42 a.m. Sunday, June 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 (two counts), Class A misdemeanor evading arrest or detention, Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest or search; remains in jail as of June 5.

Martin Martinez, 51, of Cotulla; arrested 6:46 p.m. Sunday, June 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; detention commitment; remains in custody as of June 5.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in custody and since released or transferred include Alexandra Robles, released on bond after 21 days, 23 hours.

June 2, 2017

Vanished without a trace?

Investigators continue search for clues in oilfield worker's disappearance

John Michael Johnson Jr. has been missing
since summer 2015

By Marc Robertson
More than seven months after putting out an alert for a missing oilfield worker from Marble Falls who was last seen in La Salle County, sheriff’s investigators continue examining the few details that remain of John Michael Johnson Jr.’s life in hopes of tracing him.
Missing: John Johnson Jr.
The father of two was last seen in the summer of 2015 and a search for him was renewed in October 2016 when family members reported to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office that they still had not heard any news of him and that no contact had been made.

The man is listed as 5’6” in height, weighing approximately 180 lbs., with blue eyes, brown hair, a light complexion and last known to favor a goatee beard. Photographs indicate he has a gap between his upper front teeth. He has been employed in the past by Diamond X Contracting and has had an address in Spicewood, Texas. In 2015, he was living and working in Cotulla; his family members live in the Marble Falls area of the Texas Hill Country. He was born in Austin on December 7, 1978, and is the unmarried father of two children. He is listed as a having a driver’s license issued in Kansas.

Johnson’s criminal history includes an arrest in July 2015 related to a failure to appear in court on a drunk-driving citation. He was released on a $3,500 bond from the La Salle County Jail on July 24 that year. His background shows no known gang affiliation and no history of mental illness. He is not presently listed as a wanted fugitive by La Salle County.

Johnson has been employed by a pipeline company in the past and is known to have operated trenching machines. He was last known to drive a green or teal blue Ford Mustang. Johnson was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, brown boots and a brown cap. At the time of his release from the La Salle County Jail he was reported as being in possession of checks worth at least $1,200.

With the exception of a brief appearance on social media in early September 2015, Johnson all but vanished when he was released from jail nearly two years ago. La Salle County Captain Jose Garcia noted last October that there were no records of Johnson remaining in the county after September 2015, but also none to indicate that he had moved elsewhere.

“When his family members decided to file a missing person report, they made that report here in La Salle County because this was the last place where Mr. Johnson was known to have lived and worked,” the sheriff’s captain said.

"There is a family in Marble Falls that is still searching for answers..."
- Sgt. Esmeralda Gonzalez

In one of his last social media posts, Johnson indicated in September 2015 that he was fond of a “hoppin’ li’l bar in Cotulla,” which he described as his “home away from home” and where he said he drank Corona beer with salt and lime. He has since made no apparent attempt to contact family or friends and remains listed as a missing person in La Salle County.

The sheriff’s office has been unable to determine which bar Johnson was referring to; investigators are asking that anyone who may have seen the man in a Cotulla bar come forward to help provide details that further illuminate the timeline of Johnson’s life over the past two years.

In a brief statement this week, La Salle Sgt. Investigator Esmeralda Gonzalez said she continues to hold out hope that Johnson will resurface unharmed. The trail that ended with a Facebook post in the late summer of 2015, however, has yielded no new clues as to the man’s whereabouts.

There is no evidence indicating whether Johnson’s disappearance was the result of a criminal act.

“There is a family in Marble Falls that is still searching for answers, and that includes children who haven’t seen their father in a long time and don’t understand why,” Gonzalez said.  

Anyone with information regarding John Michael Johnson Jr.’s whereabouts or who may have information regarding Johnson’s departure from La Salle County, place of work or travel destination, should contact the Sheriff’s Office at (830) 879-3044.

May 29, 2017

Arrests, 
May 22-29:
Officers cuff 12

By Marc Robertson
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that 12 individuals were jailed over the past week on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges and on warrants for failure to meet court obligations.

Arrests were made by sheriff’s deputies and troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.
Those taken into custody between Monday, May 22, and Monday, May 29, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, were as follows:

Elezar Ruiz Jr., 30, of Laredo; arrested 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is not valid and failing to appear in court; released after 16 hours.

Jimmy Flores Gutierrez, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 10:31 p.m. Thursday, May 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for operating an unregistered motor vehicle, driving while license is not valid, failure to pay a fine for public intoxication, and failure to pay a fine for driving without a seatbelt; remains in jail as of May 29.

Leticia Hernandez, 31, of La Joya, Texas; arrested 2:15 a.m. Friday, May 26, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; on hold for US Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

Carlos Diaz, 31, of Dallas; arrested 11:25 a.m. Friday, May 26, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Joel Perales, 31, of Cotulla; arrested 7:13 p.m. Friday, May 26, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after two days, two hours.

Erika Lopez, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 4:20 p.m. Friday, May 26, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for Class A misdemeanor theft of property up to $2,500 in value; released on bond after 20 hours.

Alfonso Trevino III, 28, of Asherton; arrested 9:53 p.m. Friday, May 26, by the Texas DPS; state jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, state jail felony evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction, warrants issued in Dimmit County for failure to appear in court on a two Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass charges, failure to appear in court on a Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief charge, failure to appear in court on a Class A misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, third-degree felony obstruction or retaliation, Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass, state jail felony evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction, and warrant issued in Zavala County for second-degree felony aggravated assault causing bodily injury; remains in jail as of May 29.

Lucinda Garcia, 37, of Cotulla; arrested 5 a.m. Saturday, May 27, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid with a previous conviction, warrant issued in La Salle County for payment of a fine for speeding; released on bond after nine hours.

Annette Elizondo, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 11:28 a.m. Saturday, May 27, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to pay a fine on a charge of driving with an expired registration; released on bond after five hours.

Juan Ramiro Sosa, 41, of Cotulla; arrested 3:20 p.m. Saturday, May 27, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to pay fines on charges of driving while license is not valid, and two counts of violating a promise to appear in court; court-ordered release after 16 hours.

Julian Mojica Jr., 37, of Cotulla; arrested 2:45 a.m. Sunday, May 28, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; released on bond after 10 hours.

Chris Caswell Tamayo, 39, of San Benito, Texas; arrested 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 29, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid with a previous conviction; released on bond after four hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Kevin Chafik Melendez, transferred after 102 days, 16 hours; Jesus R. Alvarado, released on bond after 89 days, eight hours; Juan Angel Castillo, transferred after 30 days, 12 hours; Angel Lopez Guerrero, transferred to 10-year sentence at Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Cliff Matthews Robinson Jr., released on bond after one day, six hours; and Gilbert Cruz, released on bond after one day, two hours.

May 24, 2017

Public Auction, 9 a.m. Friday, June 2

The following vehicles and material will be subject to public auction by the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 2, in the Sheriff’s Yard on North Main Street in Cotulla:

2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, VIN 2G1WX15K229336336
2005 Pontiac Vibe, VIN 5Y2SL63835Z407933
2010 Ford pickup, VIN 1FTEW1C86AFD55264
2003 Chevrolet pickup, VIN 1GCHC24183E121827
1999 Mitsubishi Galant, VIN 4A3AA46G7XE052202
2008 Chevrolet Tahoe, VIN 1GNFC13008R193977
2006 Isuzu Ascender, VIN 4NUDS13S962701278
2003 Mercury, VIN 1MD2DU66K53ZJ16841
2006 Nissan Titan, VIN 1N6BA07A76N519379
2008 Dodge van, VIN 2D8HN44H68R665158
2004 Chevrolet Cruze, VIN 1G1PG5SB8E7435054
1999 Chevrolet Suburban, VIN 3GNEC16R5XG260576
2003 Ford Taurus, VIN 1FAFP53U43G207199
1996 Ford van, VIN 1FTJS34Y4THA52558
2001 Chevrolet Tahoe, VIN 1GNEC13T71R101159
2002 Chevrolet Suburban, VIN 3GNEC16Z32G169007
2000 Ford bus, VIN 1FDWE35S8YHA72905
2003 Ford pickup, VIN 1FTRW07L43KD14412
2000 Chevrolet SUV, VIN 1GNEK13T6YJ186474
2003 Oldsmobile Alero, VIN 1G3NL52F13C302122
2002 Ford Expedition, VIN 1FMPU16L22LA35484
2003 Ford van, VIN 1FBNE31L93HB22884
2003 Ford van, VIN 1GAGG25U231226789
2003 Chevrolet van, VIN 1GAGG25U731192168
2004 Dodge Neon, VIN 1B3ES26CX4D606581
1999 Ford van, VIN 2FMZA5249XBB73263
Caterpillar tractor loader
International Tractor
Frac tank
County surplus material.

May 22, 2017

Arrests, 
May 15-22:
Officers cuff 12

By Marc Robertson
Law enforcement officers took 12 subjects into custody in La Salle County over the past week on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges as well as on arrest warrants for failure to make court appearances.

Arrests were made by La Salle County sheriff’s deputies, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety and officers of the Encinal Police Department between May 15, and Monday, May 22.

One man was arrested less than four hours after being released on bond from 45 days in jail.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, are as follows:

David Flores, 51, of Cotulla; arrested 9:10 p.m. Monday, May 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor violating a bond or protective order; released on bond after 21 hours.

Manuel Sanchez Jr., 27, of San Antonio; arrested 9:59 p.m. Monday, May 15, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction; released on bond after 20 hours.

Marlana Contreras, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 12:33 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after one day, 14 hours.

Marcus Duane Tellez, 21, of Cotulla; arrested 2:37 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 17 hours.

Gustavo Martinez Jr., 51, of Eagle Pass; arrested 10:50 a.m. Thursday, May 18, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor accident involving damage to a vehicle greater than $200; released on bond after one day, four hours.

Jose Luis Maldonado, 49, of Cotulla; arrested 2:56 p.m. Thursday, May 18, by the Sheriff’s Office; first-degree felony aggravated assault with a weapon on a family or household member, Class A misdemeanor evading arrest or detention, warrants issued by Justice of the Peace for misdemeanor failing to maintain financial responsibility, misdemeanor displaying fictitious registration, misdemeanor failing to signal lane change, and misdemeanor violating a promise to appear in court, and warrant issued by Wisconsin Department of Corrections for parole violation; remains in jail as of May 22.

Roxanne Heathcock Reed, 54, of Fowlerton; arrested 2:25 a.m. Saturday, May 20, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after eight hours.

Marie Ann Gorman, 26, of Bastrop, Texas; arrested 2:25 a.m. Saturday, May 20, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3, misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after nine hours.

Ricardo Mendez, 53, of Cotulla; arrested 6:40 a.m. Sunday, May 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released after six hours.

Cliff Matthews Robinson Jr., 21, of Laredo; arrested 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21, by the Encinal Police Department; third-degree felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon; remains in jail as of May 22.

Abel Quinonez, 24, of Pearsall; arrested 4:50 p.m. Sunday, May 21, by the Texas DPS; misdemeanor failing to report a non-injury accident; released on bond after five hours.

Gilbert Cruz, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 6:54 p.m. Sunday, May 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving with an open container of alcohol, and three warrants for failure to appear in court on charges of public intoxication; remains in jail as of May 22.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Sandra Esmeralda Rodriguez, transferred after 89 days, 17 hours; Jesus R. Alvarado, released on bond after 89 days, 8 hours; David Flores, released on bond after 45 days; Juan Angel Castillo, transferred after 30 days, 12 hours; Juan Ramon Munoz, transferred after 23 days, 20 hours; Reynaldo Lopez Jr., transferred after 24 days, 21 hours; Charles Dustin West, released on bond after one day, 11 hours; and Abelardo Molina, released on bond after 14 hours.

May 15, 2017

Arrests, 
May 8-15:
Officers cuff 12

By Marc Robertson
Twelve individuals were arrested in La Salle County over the past week by sheriff’s deputies and troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla between Monday, May 8, and May 15, included the following:

Daniel Joel Garcia, 29, of Alice, Texas; arrested 6:40 p.m. Monday, May 8, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in Jim Wells County for state jail felony child support payment, Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid with a previous conviction; released on bond after 18 hours.

Emmanuel Roberto Rueda, 24, of Laredo; arrested 5:02 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, Class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A; released on bond after one day, five hours.

Alexandra Robles, 29, of San Antonio; arrested 1:45 p.m. Thursday, May 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony warrant issued in La Salle District Court for failure to appear in court, misdemeanor warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court; remains in jail as of May 15.

Noel Rene Niaves, 56, of Cotulla; arrested 5:36 p.m. Thursday, May 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for interfering with public duties and Class A misdemeanor assault by contact; released on bond after two hours.

Victor Orlando Velasco, 28, of Cotulla; arrested 6:23 p.m. Thursday, May 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; third-degree felony tampering with or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair, Class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A, warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court and payment of a fine for possession of drug paraphernalia; released on bond after 23 hours.

Ramon Nunez, 60, of Cotulla; arrested 8:23 p.m. Thursday, May 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after 17 hours.

Deyanira Ramirez, 31, of Cotulla; arrested 6:05 p.m. Friday, May 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for payment of a fine for disregarding a stop sign; released on bond after three hours.

Michael Anthony Luna, 30, of Laredo; arrested 7:20 p.m. Friday, May 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor driving without a license; released after one day, three hours.

Rocky Luna Jr., 34, of Laredo; arrested 7:04 p.m. Friday, May 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after two days, 14 hours.

Rolando Gamboa, 36, of Corpus Christi; arrested 9:05 p.m. Friday, May 12, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court, driving while license is not valid, and speeding more than ten percent over the posted limit; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Charles Dustin West, 36, of Buffalo, Texas; arrested 3:45 a.m. Sunday, May 14, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated or with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle; remains in jail as of May 15.

Abelardo Molina, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 12:07 a.m. Monday, May 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid with a previous conviction; remains in jail as of May 15.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Joe Jacob Cantu, transferred after 34 days, 23 hours; Fabian Cordova, released on bond after 29 days, 18 hours; Mark Anthony Ozuniga, transferred after 27 days, 17 hours; Oscar Ronnie Rios, released on bond after two days, one hour.  

May 11, 2017

La Salle County firefighters pick through the debris and extinguish hotspots after a freight truck carrying air conditioner components is destroyed in a blaze on an IH-35 overpass at Cotulla early Thursday, May 11.
(Courtesy photo)

Pressurized tanks explode in fire...

Burning truck blocks highway; driver escapes unhurt

By Marc Robertson
A disintegrating tire, overheating brakes and a shower of sparks are among the possible causes of a truck trailer fire that resulted in the closure of the IH-35 northbound lanes at Cotulla for several hours on Thursday morning, May 11.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the scene on a highway overpass at the Business IH-35 / North Main Street intersection shortly after 2:30 a.m. to find that fire was spreading rapidly through the freight truck’s box trailer carrying a cargo of air conditioner components.

Within a short period of time, pressurized tanks in the cargo began exploding, according to La Salle Sheriff’s Sgt. Rickey Galvan, who was among those at the scene.
Members of the La Salle Fire Rescue were dispatched to fight the blaze while sheriff’s deputies, the Highway Patrol and other officers diverted interstate traffic away from the burning wreckage and onto the highway’s east-side access road.

A report on the case indicates that the truck had been traveling north on the interstate when one of its trailer tires had disintegrated and, although the truck driver brought the vehicle to a halt, the freight truck was blocking a lane of traffic and had begun to burn.

Officers dispatched to the scene have confirmed that a number of other truck drivers stopped their vehicles beside the interstate and rushed to the aid of the
A portion of IH-35 remains closed Thursday morning, May 11,
after a truck burns in the northbound lanes. (Courtesy photo)
stranded driver, assisting her in disconnecting her tractor rig from the burning trailer.

“We are fortunate that no one was injured in this incident,” Sgt. Galvan said. “There was some urgency in detaching the tractor rig while the trailer was being consumed by fire, but the real danger was yet to be revealed, namely the pressurized tanks. They were the source of the series of explosions.”

Northbound traffic was diverted to the highway exit and access ramps serving the Main Street intersection while the overpass bridge was closed during firefighting and cleanup operations that lasted more than eight hours.

No charges have been filed in the case to date.

May 10, 2017

Arrest after crashing in median...

Did suspicious truck stop customer use drugs on highway?

By Marc Robertson
A Laredo man with a history of drug-related charges may have used a powerful quantity of synthetic marijuana while driving between Encinal and Cotulla on Wednesday afternoon, May 10, according to officers who interviewed him after he had crashed his car.

Emmanuel Roberto Rueda, 24, had been at the wheel of a 2012 Ford Focus sedan when it veered out of the northbound lanes of the interstate near Artesia Wells and collided with the cable barrier in the highway’s center median. He was not injured in the crash but was found to be in a confused state and unaware that he had been involved in an accident when he was interviewed by La Salle County sheriff’s deputies.

Rueda was quickly identified as having been a truck stop customer who had caught store employees’ attention in Encinal a short time earlier, according to investigating officers, and a report had been made regarding the man’s apparently unusual behavior.

Among those first to reach the crashed vehicle near Milemarker 56 at around 4:30 p.m. were agents of the US Border Patrol and La Salle Constable Rene Maldonado. Rueda was reportedly seen dropping a makeshift pipe into a soda can when officers found him.  

La Salle County Deputies Juan Mirelez and Daniela Flores both reported that Rueda appeared dazed and sleepy, that he asked repeatedly why he had been stopped and that his speech was slurred.
Rueda admitted during further questioning that he had used K2, a brand of synthetic cannabinoid. He was then found in possession of a plastic bag containing the same narcotic.

Charges filed against the driver include Class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A and driving while intoxicated. He has also been cited for Class C misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Rueda was remanded into custody at the La Salle County Jail; the damaged vehicle was impounded by the sheriff’s office.

May 9, 2017

Impounded
vehicles

The following vehicles have been seized or impounded by the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and will be subject to public auction if they remain unclaimed:

2008 Chevrolet SUV, grey; VIN 1GNFC13008R193977.
2014 Chevrolet 4-door, silver; VIN 1G1PG5SB8E7435054.
1999 Mitsubishi 4-door, silver; VIN 4A3AA46G7XE052202.
2003 Oldsmobile 4-door, silver; VIN 1G3NL52F13C302122.
2001 Chevrolet SUV, white; VIN 1GNEC13T71R101159.
2002 Chevrolet SUV, red; VIN 3GNEC16Z32G169007.

Claimants should contact the sheriff’s office at 101 Courthouse Square, Cotulla, Texas 78014, or call (830) 879-3044.

May 8, 2017

Arrests, 
May 1-8:
Officers cuff 10

By Marc Robertson
Ten suspects were taken into custody on a range of charges including misdemeanors and felonies in La Salle County between May 1 and Monday, May 8.

Arrests over the past week were made by deputies of the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, are as follows:

Angel Lopez Guerrero, 35, of Corpus Christi; arrested 2:05 p.m. Monday, May 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; sentencing to serve ten years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Belinda Diane Fletcher, 53, of Cotulla; arrested 2:17 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Nora Castor, 43, of Cotulla; arrested 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; remains in jail as of May 8.

Felipe Viviano Garcia, 27, of Laredo; arrested 7:39 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor reckless driving; released on bond after 17 hours.

Ricky Montes, 23, of Cotulla; arrested 4:15 p.m. by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and driving without a license; released on bond after 17 hours.

Joshua Vasquez, 20, of Cotulla; arrested 12:10 a.m. Friday, May 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after eight hours.

Matthew Arron Bussell, 28, of Starks, Iowa; arrested 9:49 p.m. Friday, May 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction; released on bond after 20 hours.

Celsa Oralia Garcia, 26, of Cotulla; arrested 3:41 p.m. Saturday, May 6, by the Texas DPS; Class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after one day, five hours.

Felicia Ann Llopiz, 26, of San Antonio; arrested 12:12 p.m. Sunday, May 7, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of failing to identify or giving false information; remains in jail as of May 8.

Oscar Ronnie Rios, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 8, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for revocation of probation on a charge of possession of a controlled substance; remains in jail as of May 8.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Ernest Ruiz, transferred after two days, 19 hours.

May 2, 2017

JP signs arrest warrants for court dodgers

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for those who have failed to make court appearances or who have failed to meet obligations in the wake of arrest or citation on a range of charges.

Those listed are subject to arrest immediately at home, at work or in the course of traffic stops if they are identified by law enforcement officers. Arrests may be carried out by La Salle County sheriff’s deputies, officers of the Cotulla City Patrol, La Salle County constables, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol, officers of the Encinal Police Department, Texas game wardens or other licensed peace officers.

Listed as wanted by the justice of the peace this week and facing additional charges of failure to appear in court are the following:

Alexa Carolina Alfaro, 23, of Laredo; displaying an expired license plate.

Jennifer Rae Arce, 36, of Laredo; driving while license is not valid, two counts of traveling with an unrestrained child, failing to appear in court.

Kassondra Alvardo, 24, of Cotulla; driving with an expired registration, failing to maintain financial responsibility, failing to show a driver’s license, operating a vehicle without a license plate.

Leonardo V Angelillo, 21, of Austin; violation of driver’s license restriction (2 counts), driving with an expired license, failing to appear in court.

Horace Dewayne Coleman, 50, of San Antonio; window tint violation.

Claudia Lydia Rios, 30, of Cotulla; disregarding seat system for a child under age 8, disregarding a stop sign or traffic signal.

John Brian Molina, 31, of Cotulla; failing to appear in court, failing to maintain financial responsibility, Class C theft, driving with an expired vehicle registration, seat belt violation.

Josiah Israel Diaz, 30, of Laredo; failing to appear in court, speeding.

Jesus Ramirez Jr., 25, of Cotulla; displaying an expired driver’s license, failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving while license is not valid.

Richard Garcia Jr., 31, of Laredo; failing to appear in court, driving without a license, safety seat violation with a child under age 8.

Norma Idalia Hernandez, 28, of San Antonio; failing to appear in court, driving while license is suspended, traveling with an unrestrained child under age 5.

Eric Olvera Garcia, 46, of San Antonio; speeding.

Mario Hugo Garica, 41, of Cotulla; turning violation, failing to appear in court, possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia, driving while license is not valid.

Abraham Mosqueda, 36, of Houston; possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia, possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving without a license.

Tammy Renee Jones, 40, of Cotulla; disregarding a stop sign or traffic signal.

Andro Grajales, 45, of Florida; driving with an exposed tire belt, driving with excessive air loss, driving while brakes are unadjusted.

Mike Nickles, 38, of Dilley; failing to appear in court, driving without a license.

Katrina Nicole Ramon, 28, of Dilley; failing to appear in court, disorderly conduct, public intoxication.

Daniel Adrian Salazar, 19, of Cotulla; driving while license is not valid.

Tammy Morales Sepulveda, 35, of Cotulla; Class C misdemeanor family violence assault.

Those for whom arrest warrants are being signed this week are required to make a court appearance at the justice of the peace’s office on Center Street in downtown Cotulla and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone. A telephone call does not constitute a court appearance. Further charges are pending against those who fail to meet court obligations.

May 1, 2017

Arrests,
April 24 -
May 1:
Officers cuff 7

By Marc Robertson
Officers in La Salle County took seven individuals to jail on a range of misdemeanor and felony charges in the past week, in addition to a number of detainees wanted for questioning in other counties.

Local arrests were made by La Salle County Sheriff’s Office deputies, officers of the Cotulla Patrol Division, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol, and officers of the Encinal Police Department.

Those taken into custody between Monday, April 24, and Monday, May 1, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, were as follows:

Juan Ramon Munoz, 41, of Big Spring, Texas; arrested 2:45 p.m. Monday, April 24, by the Encinal Police Department; Class A misdemeanor theft of property up to $750, state jail felony warrant on a charge of theft issued in Ector County, warrant issued by Austin Pardon & Parole Board on parole violation, warrants issued in Midland County on charges of theft by repetition (two counts) and theft of property over $2,500 (four counts) with two or more previous convictions, warrants issued in Ector County for theft (two counts) with two or more previous convictions and criminal trespass; remains in jail as of May 1 on hold for Ector County, Midland County and Austin Pardon & Parole.

Maria Sepulveda-Alejandro, 42, of Big Wells, Texas; arrested 6:49 p.m. Monday, April 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued for probation violation on Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated with a child passenger under age 15; released on bond after three hours.

Reynaldo Lopez Jr., 43, of Encinal; arrested 4:43 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, by the Encinal Police Department; warrant issued in La Salle County Court on Class B misdemeanor failure to appear in court, warrants issued in Webb County evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle (two counts); remains in jail as of May 1, on hold for Webb County.

Rodrigo Rodriguez Jr., 36, of Cotulla; arrested 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County on Class B misdemeanor theft of property, warrant issued by Austin Pardon & Parole Board on parole violation; remains in jail as of May 1.

Travis Clayton Alexander, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 10:33 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after two days, one hour.

Ernest Ruiz, 45, of Laredo; arrested 10:20 p.m. Friday, April 28, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in Sutton County for probation violation on a charge of driving while license is not valid with a previous conviction; remains in jail as of May 1.

Ricardo Soto, 46, of Encinal; arrested 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, by the Encinal Police Department; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving with expired license plates and failing to maintain financial responsibility; released on bond after five hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Greg Dunford, transferred after 41 days, 19 hours; Abelardo Molina, court-ordered release after two days, 18 hours; Hugo Cesar Tovar-Garcia, released on bond after one day, four hours; and Raul Jesus Castillo, released on bond after one day, three hours.

April 24, 2017

No serious injuries...

Highway Patrol investigates FM 469 bus rollover

By Marc Robertson
Department of Public Safety troopers have launched an investigation this week into the possible causes of a charter bus crash on a remote stretch of a two-lane road in La Salle County.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the crash site some three miles east of IH-35 near Millett shortly after 9 p.m. Monday, April 24, to find that a bus driver had sustained only minor injuries when his vehicle had veered off the roadway and tipped onto its side. The accident on FM 469 had occurred more than 45 minutes previously but had not been reported to the county’s emergency dispatcher, according to the Highway Patrol, but a construction site work crew had found the overturned vehicle.

In a brief report on the crash, the La Salle County office of the Highway Patrol is indicating that the bus driver employed by Ronald A. Wagner & Company had been traveling east on the farm-to-market road when he had lost control of his steering in a curve, causing the vehicle to tip onto its passenger side.

The bus had been on its way to pick up a work crew at the time of the crash, according to the DPS. Among those dispatched to the scene were firefighters and medics of the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS. The driver was transported by ambulance to Frio Regional Hospital at Pearsall for treatment.

No charges have been filed in the case to date, pending the outcome of the DPS investigation into factors that may have contributed to the crash.

Lane closures remained in effect on FM 469 for more than two hours for cleanup at the crash site and removal of the damaged bus.

Monday evening’s accident occurred at the same time as an incident some forty miles to the south that likewise required emergency response and lane closures. Deputies of the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the site of a fuel spill near the intersection of IH-35 and Hwy 44 in Encinal shortly after 9 p.m. and reported that interstate ramp closures would be necessary during a cleanup operation. The Texas Department of Transportation has since confirmed that IH-35 access and exit ramps were restricted and that motorists were diverted to alternate routes.

A report on the fuel spill indicates that a commercial truck may have sustained a puncture to its diesel tank when its driveshaft disengaged, crippling the 18-wheel freighter near the intersection. Lane closures remained in effect for at least two hours. There has been no report of charges filed in the case, pending the outcome of an investigation. No injuries have been reported.

April 24, 2017

Arrests,
April 17-24:
Officers cuff 10

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County sheriff’s deputies brought ten individuals into custody over the past week on a range of charges, among them a number on outstanding warrants issued locally for failure to meet court obligations.

Those taken into custody between Monday, April 17, and Monday, April 24, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, are as follows:

Gabriel Gonzales, 19, of Pearsall; arrested 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants
issued in Cotulla Municipal Court for failure to meet court obligations on charges of speeding and driving without a license; court-ordered release after 18 hours.

Jose Luis Lara, 45, of Cotulla; arrested 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after one day, 16 hours.

Yvette Rae Jaco, 52, of Cotulla; arrested 5:03 p.m. Friday, April 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after one day, four hours.

Juan Angel Castillo, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 11:33 p.m. Friday, April 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle District Court and by La Salle County authorities for felony unlawful restraint, Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, failure to appear in court on a charge of burglary of a habitation, possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, and possession of methamphetamine; remains in jail as of April 24.

Salvador Emilio Gonzales, 39, of San Antonio; arrested 1:04 a.m. Saturday, April 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction; released on bond after 154 hours.

Abelardo Molina, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 8:35 p.m. Saturday, April 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for payment of fines or failure to meet court obligations on charges of driving with an open container of alcohol, driving while license is not valid, failure to appear in court or violating a promise to appear (five counts), disregarding a stop sign (two counts), traveling with an unrestrained child, and speeding (two counts); remains in jail as of April 24.

Adrianna Espinola Sanchez, 46, of San Antonio; arrested 9:39 p.m. Saturday, April 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to comply with a court order or to appear in court; released on bond after 19 hours.

Jose Juan Maldonado, 24, of Encinal; arrested 3:08 a.m. Sunday, April 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after ten hours.

Hugo Cesar Tovar-Garcia, 37, of Rosharon, Texas; arrested 5:50 p.m. Sunday, April 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; remains in jail as of April 24.

Raul Jesus Castillo, 28, of Humble, Texas; arrested 6:22 p.m. Sunday, April 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; remains in jail as of April 24.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Alberto Castor Jr., released on bond after 96 days, 20 hours; Renee Rincon Jr., court-ordered release after 29 days, 18 hours; Oscar Gonzalez Jr., released on bond after 22 days, two hours; Christopher Lee Hearn, transferred after 17 days, 15 hours; Sonny Perales, transferred after 16 days, 15 hours; Jeffrey Lynn Stroud, released on bond after 22 days, 20 hours; Francisco Flores Jr., released on bond after two days, six hours; and Alejandro Cerda Jr., released on bond after 16 hours.    

April 17, 2017

Arrests,
April 10-17:
Officers cuff 11

By Marc Robertson
Eleven individuals were arrested in La Salle County over the past week on a range of charges by deputies of the Sheriff’s Office and the Cotulla Patrol Division, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol and officers of the Encinal Police Department.

Those taken into custody between Monday, April 10, and Monday, April 17, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, are as follows:

Antonio Garcia Jr., 35, of Cotulla; arrested 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, April 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; three counts of Class A misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug; released on bond after 14 hours.

Pedro Vinton III, 24, of Cotulla; arrested 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by Justice of the Peace for violating a driver’s license restriction and for failing to maintain financial responsibility; released after 18 hours.

Rosalinda Ramirez, 45, of Cotulla; arrested 5:29 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, by the Cotulla City Patrol; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after 23 hours.

Daniella Ann Sotelo, 26, of Cotulla; arrested 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court; released on bond after three hours.

Hugo Salainas Hernandez, 47, of Cotulla; arrested 2:45 p.m. Friday, April 14, by the Sheriff’s Office, after having been released from 61 days in custody March 28; failure to appear in court on two felony counts of assault on a public servant; remains in jail as of April 17.

Mark Anthony Ozuniga, 32, of San Antonio; arrested 4:09 p.m. Friday, April 14, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court for failure to appear in court on a state jail felony charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of April 17.

Victor Alfonso Garcia, 23, of Cotulla; arrested 9:48 p.m. Saturday, April 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by Justice of the Peace for failing to maintain financial responsibility, warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court, failure to attend school, failure to appear in court on a charge of failure to attend school, driving without a license and violating a promise to appear in court; court-ordered release after 11 hours.

Francisco Flores Jr., 24, of Big Wells; arrested 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 16, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by Justice of the Peace for state jail felony credit or debit card abuse and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of April 17.

Chris Caswell Tamayo, 39, of San Benito, Texas; arrested 5:51 p.m. Monday, April 17, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court, two counts of driving while license is not valid, and violating a promise to appear in court; released after 17 hours.

Andres Jaime Cardenas, 19, of San Antonio; arrested 6:36 p.m. Monday, April 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor criminal mischief up to $2,500; released on bond after 17 hours.

Alejandro Cerda Jr., 20, of Laredo; arrested 7:54 p.m. Monday, April 17, by the Encinal Police Department; warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and speeding more than ten percent over the posted limit; remains in jail as of April 17.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Roberto Inez Miranda, transferred after 354 days, 20 hours; Noemi Trevino, released on bond after 41 days, 18 hours; Abel Garcia, released after 17 days, 10 hours; Christopher Lee Hearn, transferred after 17 days, 15 hours; Sonny Perales, transferred after 16 days, 15 hours; and Armando Gonzalez, released on bond after four days, 12 hours.      

April 11, 2017

"No one stopped to help her..."

Storms create road hazards across South Texas

By Marc Robertson
A series of storms passed over South Texas on Tuesday evening, April 11, bringing heavy rain, high wind and hail in some areas, and a number of crashes on IH-35 may have been due to drivers losing control of their vehicles in adverse conditions, according to law enforcement officials.

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office is pointing to rain-soaked roadways and limited visibility as contributing to hazardous driving conditions prior to at least two accidents that occurred within 30 minutes of each other shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, during the hour at which storms were at their most intense over the interstate.

Heavy rainfall between Millett and Cotulla on Tuesday afternoon created dangerous conditions in which a driver may have lost control of her steering near Milemarker 73, according to La Salle Deputy Juan Mirelez, who was dispatched to the crash site to find that a Chevrolet Malibu sedan had come to rest in a roadside ditch.

“We were notified by a number of callers that a car appeared to have run off the road near Gardendale,” the deputy said. “But when we reached the car, there was no one in it.”

The deputy said he discovered a card bearing an emergency contact number in the abandoned car and called to learn from a man in Laredo that the driver was 26-year-old nursing student Perla Gonzales, who had walked from Gardendale to Cotulla and was waiting to be collected from a highwayside travel center.

“The car had sustained serious damage to its front end and windshield,” Deputy Mirelez said of the crash site. “It appeared to have struck a highway sign after veering out of the southbound lanes and had then landed in a ditch in the west-side median. The driver had decided to abandon the damaged vehicle and look for help. At that time, her phone battery was low on power. She could not call anyone.”

Gonzales walked five miles through a thunderstorm.

“No one stopped to help her,” Mirelez added. “When I eventually found her at the truck stop, she was happy to see me.”

Gonzales told the investigating officer that she had been traveling home to Laredo from San Antonio when visibility on the highway had deteriorated.

“She wasn’t sure whether her car had hydroplaned on the wet road, but she recalled feeling as though she had hit something,” the deputy said of his interview with Gonzales. “She said that she was unable to control the car and that she recalled leaving the road and landing in the ditch.”

Deputy Mirelez said he believes Gonzales was inexperienced with adverse driving conditions and noted that unsafe speed and loss of steering control may have been contributing factors in the crash at a time when there was water on the road and limited visibility.

“In this case, the driver was fortunate not to have been injured,” the deputy said. “We discovered that the Malibu had, in fact, struck a highway sign on its way off the road. At issue here is whether any motorist should proceed at normal highway speeds when the weather is this bad.”

In a further weather-related crash, emergency responders were dispatched to a scene some seven miles south of Cotulla before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after learning that an 18-wheel freight truck and box trailer had jackknifed on the interstate’s southbound lanes.

In a brief statement on the freight truck crash, Texas DPS Sgt. JD Rodriguez said severe weather with heavy rain, high winds and limited visibility had made for hazardous driving conditions in which faulty driving practices may have resulted in an accident.

“From what we have been able to determine at this early stage, the truck was traveling through very heavy rainfall between Cotulla and Artesia Wells,” the sergeant said. “The storm contributed to poor driving conditions.”

No serious injuries have been reported from Tuesday’s accidents.

The sheriff’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety are reiterating a caution to all motorists to heed weather advisories and to slow down in adverse conditions. Minimal amounts of rain on the interstate may contribute to loss of traction and loss of steering control, officers note, and emergency braking may cause a vehicle to veer out of its lane of travel.

“It’s better to arrive late than to risk your safety and other people’s safety,” Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez said this week. “When you’re driving in bad weather, you have to use common sense. If necessary, take the next exit and wait for the storm to pass.”

Sgt. Rodriguez said he believes travelers should take extra precautions at times when severe weather is likely.

“You have to be aware that storms are common and may be sudden at this time of year and in this part of the country,” the sergeant said. “It’s important to slow down when visibility is diminished, watch out for water on the roadway and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Braking distances and steering are particularly affected by wet roads and high wind.”

April 10, 2017

More than 100 prescription pills...

Investigation prompts drug raid, arrest

By Marc Robertson
A Cotulla man was jailed late Monday, April 10, after more than 100 prescription pills were discovered in his home and vehicle by officers carrying out a search warrant in a trailer park.

Identified as 35-year-old Antonio Garcia Jr., the suspect in the case faces three Class A misdemeanor charges of possession of a dangerous drug and may yet face felony charges, pending an assessment of the volume of narcotics in his possession.

Investigators in the case have indicated that Garcia is suspected of having been actively involved in narcotics trafficking and that he had been offering prescription drugs for sale out of his home in the Garcia RV Park on Guadalupe Street in Cotulla.

Bearing a warrant signed by Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez at 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 10, members of a drug traffic intervention task force encircling the Garcia property included La Salle County sheriff’s deputies, officers of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Public Safety and the US Department of Homeland Security.

Garcia is listed as unemployed and was earning an income from renters at his RV park. He was found in possession of almost $5,000 in cash and three different varieties of prescription pills. Officers searching Garcia’s property also found a .22-caliber handgun.

Officers conducting the investigations into Garcia’s alleged drug trafficking have indicated that an anonymous tip from a Cotulla resident included information on a high volume of traffic consistent with the narcotics trade. Officers also learned of a possible trade in synthetic marijuana at the park.

Garcia was remanded into custody at the La Salle County Jail without further incident. He was released on bond Tuesday, April 11. 

April 10, 2017

Arrests,
April 3-10:
Officers cuff 13

By Marc Robertson
Thirteen subjects were jailed in La Salle County over the past week, with arrests being made by the Sheriff’s Office, the Encinal Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those taken into custody on charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, between Monday, April 3, and Monday, April 10, are as follows:

Genevieve Ann Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio; arrested 10:47 a.m. Tuesday, April 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court for failure to appear in court; released on bond after one day, eight hours.

Jolene Evette Rodriguez, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 5:26 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for payment of a fine, driving while license is not valid; released on bond after three hours.

Mario Garcia, 63, of Cotulla; arrested 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction; released on bond after one day.

Jaime Jesus Soto, 25, of Lansing, Michigan; arrested 1:35 a.m. Thursday, April 6, by the Encinal Police Department; warrant issued in Bexar county on a motion to revoke probation, and warrant issued by unlisted agency on probation violation; released on bond after 18 hours.

Joe Jacob Cantu, 28, of Cotulla; arrested 8:15 a.m. Thursday, April 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; 90-day detention commitment; remains in jail as of April 10.

Melissa Michele Rosales, 43, of Cotulla; arrested 8:24 p.m. Thursday, April 6, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by unlisted agency for failure to appear in court; released on bond after 18 hours.

Matthew Adams, 39, of Wichita Falls, Texas; arrested 12:45 a.m. Friday, April 7, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released after 14 hours.

Armando Gonzalez, 32, of Cotulla; arrested 3:38 a.m. Friday, April 7, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; remains in jail as of April 10.

Todd Dwayne Savage, 47, of Cypress, Texas; arrested 12 p.m. Friday, April 7, by the Texas DPS; third-degree felony evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle, warrants issued in Harris County for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and committing injury to the elderly; remains in jail as of April 10.

Cerim Behaderovic, 58, of Cox Creek, Kentucky; arrested 7:20 p.m. Friday, April 7, by the Texas DPS; Class A misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, second offense; released on bond after 22 hours.

Jorge Alberto Rodriguez, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 9:40 p.m. Friday, April 7, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in Frio County for violating a promise to appear in court; released on bond after 19 hours.

Fabian Cordova, 32, of Cotulla; arrested 11:54 p.m. Saturday, April 8, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor making a false report to a police officer; remains in jail as of April 10.

Rudy Michael Sosa, 29, of Encinal; arrested 2:01 a.m. Saturday, April 8, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after 14 hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Roberto Inez Miranda, transferred after 354 days, 20 hours; Alejandro Arebalo, transferred after 33 days, 20 hours; Leonora Garcia, released on bond after 13 days, 11 hours; Sergio Enrique Bustos, released on bond after seven days, four hours; and Heriberto Fuentes III, released on bond after one day, two hours.  

April 8, 2017

"Everything was packed so tight..."

Tire blowout
causes trailer fire,
$10K in losses

Firefighters spend three hours
on closed interstate

A homemade flatbed trailer loaded with clothing and housewares is consumed by flames beside the southbound lanes of IH-35 early Saturday, April 8.
                                                                                                                    (Courtesy photo)
By Marc Robertson
Emergency responders were dispatched to IH-35 near Gardendale during the early hours of Saturday, April 8, to find that a trailer bearing thousands of dollars in new clothing, housewares and appliances had become engulfed in flames.

Investigations into the possible causes of the fire that resulted in a closure of the interstate’s southbound lanes for more than three hours have revealed that one of the tires on the 18-foot long homemade flatbed trailer had disintegrated and that the resulting sparks from metal contact with the roadway had been sufficient to ignite the cargo.

A report on the incident indicates that a Mexican national who was traveling from Houston to Laredo at the wheel of a Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle had not realized that his trailer had lost one of its tires and that he may have traveled more than a mile and a half before coming to a halt at Milemarker 72 near the Gardendale overpass.

“When we got to the scene just after 3:15 a.m., the trailer was already fully engulfed,” La Salle Sheriff’s Sgt. Rickey Galvan said of the incident. “The driver had saved his truck by unhooking it from the burning trailer, but everything on that trailer was completely destroyed.”

The sergeant was assisted at the scene by Deputies Leo Martinez, Cesar Villarreal, Jose Avila and Ricardo Bustamante in closing the southbound lanes of the interstate and diverting traffic to the west-side access road between Gardendale and Cotulla during the pre-dawn hours. Firefighters from the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS were dispatched to extinguish the blaze, an effort that was prolonged because of the amount of material that had been transported on the trailer.

“The driver reported to us that he had at least ten thousand dollars’ worth of clothes, housewares, microwave ovens, washers and dryers on that trailer,” Sgt. Galvan said. “Everything was packed so tight, there was so much fuel for the fire. Boxes and boxes full of clothes made the fire even more intense.”

The damaged trailer was subsequently removed from the scene by the Munoz wrecker service. No charges have been filed in the case to date.

April 4, 2017

New arrest warrants go out this week

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for 20 individuals who have failed to make court appearances after receiving citations, or who are wanted for other misdemeanors.

Those listed will be subject to arrest at home, at work, or in the course of routine traffic stops if they are identified by La Salle County officers. Court appearances are required and cannot be made by telephone. The JP’s office is on Center Street, facing Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla.

Failure by any of those presently wanted by the justice of the peace to make a court appearance will result in additional charges being filed.

Warrants are being signed for the following:

Maria DeLaLuz Cruz, 30, of Encinal; driving without a license.
Jesus Chapa, 28, of Laredo; disorderly conduct.
Annette Re Elizondo, 33, of Cotulla; driving with expired vehicle registration.
Nicholas Galvan, 30, of San Antonio; speeding, child safety seat violation, driving while license is not valid.
Hector Rene Garza, 43, of Poteet; driving without a license.
Carolina Gonzales, 34, of Cotulla; driving while license is suspended or not valid.
Ashley Louis Hale, 25, of Cotulla; driving with expired vehicle registration, driving without a license, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Edna Sandra Jaime, 54, of Carrizo Springs; driving while license is not valid.
Ashley Celestina Lucio, 19, of Laredo; child safety seatbelt violation, driving without a license.
Enrique R Moreno, 23, of Orange Grove, Texas; driving without a license.
Gerardo Mata, 28, of Laredo; speeding.
Bobby Ramirez, 26, of Cotulla; possession of drug paraphernalia, disregarding stop sign or traffic signal, driving while license is not valid.
Belinda Rodriguez, 39, of Cotulla; three counts of contributing to non-attendance in school.
Jolene Evette Rodriguez, 33, of Cotulla; driving while license is suspended, driving while license is not valid.
Coby Delane Russell, 41, of Corpus Christi; speeding.
Daniel Adrian Salazar, 19, of Cotulla; driving while license is not valid.
Reynaldo Salazar, 47, of Dallas; speeding, failing to show proof of vehicle liability insurance.
Steve Eusebio Sosa, 27, of Cotulla; driving without a license.
Jerry FLores Suarez, 38, of Eagle Pass, Texas; disregarding a stop sign.
William Jeffery Williams, 47, of Three Rivers, Texas; speeding.

The justice of the peace’s office is on Center Street, facing Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla, and maintains regular business hours.