Law Enforcement
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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.

April 3, 2017

Arrests,
March 27 - April 3: Officers cuff 18

By Marc Robertson
Eighteen subjects were arrested over the past week by deputies of the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and by troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol between Monday, March 27, and Monday, April 3.

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

David Lopez Garcia, 37, of Cotulla; arrested 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 28, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, warrant issued in McMullen County for misdemeanor violation of occupational driver’s license; released on bond after one day, seven hours.

Oscar Gonzalez Jr., 29, of San Antonio; arrested 12 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County court for failure to appear in court and for reckless driving, warrants issued in Cotulla Municipal Court for misdemeanor driving without a license and failing to maintain financial responsibility, and warrant issued in La Salle County for revocation of probation on a charge of evading arrest; remains in jail as of April 3.

Otila Santos, 26, of Kingsville; arrested 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in Hidalgo County for probation violation on a charge of driving while intoxicated; court-ordered release after one day, 17 hours.

Glenda Shaver Russum, 53, of Laredo; arrested 2:50 p.m. Thursday, March 30, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of reckless driving and failure to appear in court on a charge of driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction, and failing to maintain financial responsibility; released on bond after seven hours.

Christopher Lee Hearn, 44, of Cotulla; arrested 5:25 p.m. Thursday, March 30, by the Sheriff’s Office; detention commitment; remains in jail as of April 3.

Armando Sambrano Jr., 27, of Dilley; arrested 7:25 p.m. Thursday, March 30, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County Court for possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A, and warrant issued in La Salle County for possession of marijuana; released on bond after 17 hours.

Sergio Enrique Bustos, 39, of Laredo; arrested 10:10 a.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued for probation violation on state jail felony possession of a controlled substance; remains in jail as of April 3.

Thomas Sartuche Garcia, 72, of Cotulla; arrested 4:50 p.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of theft of property valued up to $700; released on bond after three hours.

Sonny Perales, 36, of Cotulla; arrested 5:51 p.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; detention commitment; remains in jail as of April 3.

Russell Felix Calais Jr., 24, of Corpus Christi; arrested 7:52 p.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after 14 hours.

Jeffrey Lynn Stroud, 33, of Dilley; arrested 11:31 p.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court for state jail felony failure to appear in court; remains in jail as of April 3.

David Flores, 51, of Cotulla; arrested 5 p.m. Friday, March 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury, state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; remains in jail as of April 3.

Sidney Elizavette Flores, 24, of Cotulla; arrested 3:10 p.m. Saturday, April 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court and for driving without a license; released on bond after four hours.

Blake Michael Holbrook, 28, of Lytle, Texas; arrested 11:58 p.m. Saturday, April 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for displaying an expired license plate and violating a promise to appear in court; released on bond after eight hours.

Janelle Samantha Garcia, 22, of Laredo; arrested 4:28 p.m. Saturday, April 1, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, and warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for speeding more than 15 mph over the posted limit; released on bond after four hours.

Enrique Mercado Jr., 57, of Pearsall; arrested 6:58 p.m. Sunday, April 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; released after 20 hours.

Gilberto Montalvo Jr., 31, of Cotulla; arrested 1:08 p.m. Monday, April 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court; released after two hours.

Heriberto Fuentes III, 19, of Laredo; arrested 2:55 p.m. Monday, April 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; remains in jail as of April 3.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in custody and since released or transferred include Adan Leopoldo Aldaco, released on bond after 89 days, 18 hours; Jennifer Ann Galindo, transferred after 66 days, 12 hours; Hugo Salainas Hernandez, court-ordered release after 61 days, nine hours; Alejandro Arebalo, transferred after 33 days, 20 hours; Sonny Perales, released on bond after seven days, five hours, returned to custody on March 31; Lorenzo Alberto Sauseda, released on bond after three days, seven hours; Winston Lee Hearn, court-ordered release after 20 hours; and Jessica Rose Casillas, released on bond after 11 hours. 

March 27, 2017

JP signs arrest warrants for court no-shows

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 meet court obligations or who have violated a promise to appear in court.

Misdemeanor charges for failure to appear before a judge may be added to charges already filed against those who have been cited.

Warrants are being signed this week and become effective immediately; those who are listed will be subject to arrest at any time, at home or in the workplace, or in the course of traffic stops if they are identified by a sheriff’s deputy.

The following are required to make court appearances immediately and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone. A telephone call does not constitute a court appearance.

Jose Alberto Villarreal, 43; being in possession of more than the legal limit of hunted dove.
Jose Sergio Zamarron, 32; speeding.
Jerry Flores Suarez, 52; speeding.
Alexandra Marie Robles, 29; possession of drug paraphernalia, public intoxication.
Aurelio Picazo Jr., 23; driving while license is not valid.
Yessica Torres, 37; failing to meet a safety belt requirement for a passenger under age 17.
Valeria Garcia Delagarza, 27; driving with an expired license, driving while license is not valid.
Ricardo Raul Cavazos Jr., 21; failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving without a license.
Josephine Delagarza, age not listed; issuing a bad check.
Irenio Flores, 41; driving while license is suspended.
Hector Rene Garza, 43; driving without a license.
Rachel M Gonzalez, 46; driving without a license.
Joseph WIlliam Graves, 27; speeding.
Maria Dolores Martinez, 49; possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, public intoxication, driving while license is suspended, failing to control the speed of a vehicle.
Donny Lynn McGarity, 43; disregarding a stop sign or traffic sign.
Roger Perez, age not listed; issuing a bad check.
Ricardo Julian Sandoval, 24; driving without a license.
Kesey Smith, 26; contributing to non-attendance in school.
Oscar Trevino Jr., 41; driving with an expired vehicle registration, failing to maintain financial responsibility.
Jose Uvalle, 43; public intoxication.

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

March 27, 2017

Arrests,
March 20-27: Officers cuff 13

By Marc Robertson
Thirteen suspects were taken into custody in La Salle County between Monday, March 20 and 27, with arrests made by sheriff’s deputies, troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and officers of the Encinal Police Department.

Charges ranged from misdemeanors and warrants for unpaid citations to state jail felonies.

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

Sonny Perales, 36, of Cotulla; arrested 9:23 a.m. Monday, March 20, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court on state jail felony probation violation; remains in jail as of Monday, March 27.

Kristopher Adrian Garcia, 22, of Garland, Texas; arrested 2:50 p.m. Monday, March 20, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in Dallas County for possession of marijuana; released after five hours.

Tyler Richard Coffman, 28, of Huntsville, Texas; arrested 3:32 a.m. Tuesday, March 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction; released on bond after 19 hours.

Renee Rincon Jr., 32, of Cotulla; arrested 2:36 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on Class A misdemeanor charges of organized retail theft up to $500, possession of marijuana, and theft of property up to $500; remains in jail as of March 27.

Rodney Glenn Morgan, 49, of Cotulla; arrested 4:58 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Class B misdemeanor driving while license is not valid, with a previous conviction, and Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass; remains in jail as of March 27.

Gilbert Mike Flores, 21, of San Marcos, Texas; arrested 11:03 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, by the Encinal Police Department; warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and for speeding more than ten percent above the posted limit, and warrant issued in Hays County for Class A misdemeanor theft of property; released on bond after 19 hours.

Marco Antonio Gonzalez, 34, of Cotulla; arrested 8:28 p.m. Thursday, March 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving while license is not valid; court-ordered release after 19 hours.

Lorenzo Alberto Sauseda, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 8:15 a.m. Friday, March 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; remains in jail as of March 27.

Francisco Martinez, 52, of Cotulla; arrested 7:46 p.m. Friday, March 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after one day, two hours.

Abel Garcia, 54, of Cotulla; arrested 10:11 p.m. Saturday, March 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to pay a fine for driving with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, for driving with expired vehicle registration, and for possession of drug paraphernalia; remains in jail as of March 27.

Leonora Garcia, 44, of San Antonio; arrested 1:32 a.m. Sunday, March 26, by the Texas DPS; state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, and warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to pay a fine on a citation, and three counts of writing checks on insufficient funds; remains in jail as of March 27.

Winston Lee Hearn, 19, of Cotulla; arrested 5:27 p.m. Sunday, March 26, by the Encinal Police Department; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court and driving under the influence of an impairing substance as a minor; remains in jail as of March 27.

Jessica Rose Casillas, 26, of Atascosa, Texas; arrested 1:43 a.m. Monday, March 27, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; remains in jail as of March 27.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Elisema Rivera Jones, transferred after 36 days, 15 hours; Marco Antonio Gonzalez, released on bond after 29 days, 16 hours; and Cynthia Elizabeth Mata, released on bond after three days, 14 hours.

March 22, 2017

Did unlicensed driver steal truck,
then take it to owner's business?

By Marc Robertson
A Cotulla man found himself behind bars late Wednesday, March 22, on charges related to his apparent theft of a commercial truck and criminal trespass at the vehicle owner’s business premises.

Identified as 49-year-old Rodney Morgan, the man had been driving a Freightliner flatbed utility truck on Main Street south of downtown Cotulla near the Nueces River when he was stopped by La Salle County Precinct 2 Constable Rene Maldonado for driving the vehicle through a residential neighborhood where heavy trucks are barred. Constable Maldonado noted in his report that he had earlier seen the vehicle traveling on Leona Street. A roadside interview revealed that Morgan had neither a valid driver’s license nor a commercial vehicle license; further investigations revealed that he did not have permission to drive the vehicle and that he is not an employee of the vehicle’s owner, Lee Peters, or the business, Cotulla Fish Hatchery.

Morgan had reportedly driven the truck from a service garage beside the IH-35 access road in Cotulla to the opposite end of town, where he steered the vehicle into the fish hatchery driveway.

A check on Morgan’s identification revealed that he is a former employee of the Cotulla Fish Hatchery and that a criminal trespass warning had been issued for him the previous day upon a complaint made by Peters. Morgan told the constable that he was aware of the criminal trespass warning and that he had kept the vehicle’s keys for almost two weeks. He also indicated that he intended to collect $800 from Peters.

Constable Maldonado was assisted in the case by Deputies Andres Flores and Juan Mirelez, who investigated the manner in which Morgan had allegedly gained access to the commercial vehicle. Deputies Alfredo Gonzalez, Jose Cardenas and Enrique Velez also assisted.

“We discovered that the vehicle had been parked at a garage for repairs and that Morgan may have talked his way into being allowed to take it,” Deputy Mirelez said. “This scenario raises more questions, because we have since learned that Mr. Peters had left strict instructions at the garage that no one else was to take that truck, and that he had made a point of telling the garage employees not to release the truck to Rodney Morgan.”

Morgan was remanded into custody on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle – a state jail felony – and for driving while his license is suspended with a previous conviction, as well as on the criminal trespass charge for returning to the premises. He remains at the La Salle County Jail in lieu of bond.

March 22, 2017

Vehicles were driving slowly in tandem...

Traffic stop reveals auto theft, transport pay

By Marc Robertson
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigations this week into a case in which drivers were allegedly paid to bring a stolen vehicle from San Antonio to the Mexican border.

The case was initiated by La Salle Deputy Juan Mirelez, who was on routine patrol on IH-35 early Friday evening, March 17, when he spotted a pair of vehicles traveling south at what he described as an unusually slow pace in the passing lane of the interstate. The deputy noted in his report that a 2007 Ford Fusion sedan appeared to be following a 2009 Ford F-150 four-door pickup truck through La Salle County and that he drove behind the pair in order to read the vehicles’ license plates.

“The two vehicles were going much slower than other traffic, but they were traveling in the left-hand lane, which meant that other traffic had to pass them on the right at normal highway speeds,” the deputy said. “This constituted a road hazard and a traffic violation, because the left lane of the highway is the passing lane.”

At the same time, the deputy noted that the Ford pickup truck had been reported stolen in San Antonio.

“When I came up behind the two vehicles after observing them for a short time, the sedan pulled over to the right-hand lane, but the pickup truck began to drift to the right as well, and then traveled some distance straddling the lane divider,” the deputy said. “The two vehicles were still traveling slowly, but now the pickup truck was coming within inches of side-swiping the sedan.”

Mirelez was joined by Deputies Jose Avila, Miguel Limon and Enrique Velez in effecting the traffic stops of both vehicles. The Ford pickup truck was stopped at Milemarker 64; the sedan traveled a further three miles before stopping.

Having stopped the pickup truck, Deputy Mirelez identified the driver as 27-year-old Cynthia Mata, who told the officer that she was five months pregnant and that she had agreed to accept payment from the driver of the other vehicle to drive the truck from San Antonio to Rio Bravo, a small community on the banks of the Rio Grande between Laredo and El Cenizo. Mata did not indicate whether she was aware the vehicle had been stolen. Her record indicates she has been arrested in the past for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

At the wheel of the sedan, driver Julio Cesar Orozco, 24, was accompanied by two females, identified as his sister and cousin, ages 9 and 15. Orozco initially told officers in a roadside interview that he had no knowledge of an arrangement to pay Mata for driving a stolen vehicle to Rio Bravo. He later amended his statement, however, and conceded that he had been offered $400 to collect the pickup truck in San Antonio and that he had offered Mata $100 to do the driving.

The 15-year-old child was found to be carrying $300 in cash.

Mata and Orozco were remanded into custody at the La Salle County Jail on state jail felony charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Both vehicles were impounded by the sheriff’s office Friday evening. The children were released to the custody of a grandparent.

Orozco was released on bond shortly after 5 p.m. the following day. Mata was released on bond at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.

“We want to know who paid for this service and where the stolen vehicle was ultimately headed,” Deputy Mirelez said. “We also want to know whether any contraband had been carried in these vehicles, either on that day or in the past. Our investigation into this continues.” 

March 20, 2017

Facebook post attracts attention...

Weed bake sale lands one in jail

By Marc Robertson
An attempt by a Cotulla resident to market narcotics in a bake sale drew the attention of the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday afternoon, March 18, and resulted in an arrest on drug possession charges.

According to a report on the weekend incident, an anonymous call to the sheriff’s office Saturday indicated that a female had posted a message related to marijuana-laced goods on the Facebook social media site.

“My mom is selling weed brownies & weed cookies for $10,” the message read, accompanied by a photo and an invitation to make requests for the baked goods. In a related Facebook message stream, the female who was identified by her social media name and photograph repeated her offer of baked goods containing marijuana but was cautioned by a correspondent to remove the publicly visible advertisement for narcotics.

“Omg [name withheld] delete this lmao, everyone is going to see,” the correspondent wrote in response to the drug offer, “but message me girl.”

La Salle County Sheriff’s Investigator Homar Olivarez said he was alerted to the apparent drug advertisement by a concerned citizen and promptly contacted an officer on duty in the Cotulla City Patrol to investigate the case. Deputy Andres Flores was dispatched to a residence in the 500 block of South Baylor Street, listed as the home of Isabela Laguna and John Brian Molina.

The deputy’s inquiries revealed information indicating Molina had allegedly obtained the baked goods in Pearsall and had brought them to Cotulla to sell.

An examination of the couple’s home resulted in the discovery of clear plastic bags containing narcotics and other items of drug paraphernalia, including one item bearing residue that tested positive for cocaine, according to the deputy.

Molina was found to be a wanted fugitive with three arrest warrants in his name, including one from Frio County for failing to appear in court on a theft charge. He was arrested on state jail felony charges of possession of marijuana between 4 oz. and 5 lbs. in weight, and for possession of a controlled substance. He remained behind bars at the La Salle County Jail as of Monday, March 20.

“This case was unusual in the manner in which the narcotics were being advertised and made available to potential buyers,” the sheriff’s investigator said this week. “All humor aside, we are grateful to the observant and conscientious local residents who exercised good citizenship in notifying us of suspicious behavior such as this.”
Social media messages related to the sale of marijuana-laced baked goods (Photos above and below) drew the attention of Cotulla residents who notified the Sheriff's Office on Saturday, March 18. 

March 20, 2017

Arrests,
March 13-20: Officers cuff 10

By Marc Robertson
Ten individuals were arrested in La Salle County over the past week on a range of charges including felonies and misdemeanors.

Arrests were made by La Salle County sheriff’s deputies, officers of the Cotulla City Patrol, and troopers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol.

Those taken into custody between Monday, March 13 and 20, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, included the following:

Lilliana Carmen Perez, 28, of San Ygnacio, Texas; arrested 11:38 p.m. Monday, March 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury; released on bond after one day, 17 hours.

Gerardo Veliz, 43, of Laredo; arrested 1:27 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 18 hours.

Jesse James Romero Jr., 36, of Hondo, Texas; arrested 9:01 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 22 hours.

Alexis Marie Gonzalez, 21, of Cotulla; arrested 11:07 p.m. Thursday, March 16, by the Cotulla City Patrol; Class A misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to a minor; released on bond after 20 hours.

Cynthia Elizabeth Mata, 27, of Rio Bravo, Texas; arrested 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of Monday, March 20.

Julio Cesar Orozco, 24, of Rio Bravo, Texas; arrested 9:08 p.m. Friday, March 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; released on bond after 20 hours.

John Brian Molina, 30, of Cotulla; arrested 4:09 p.m. Saturday, March 18, by the Cotulla City Patrol; state jail felony possession of marijuana up to 5 lbs., state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, warrants issued in La Salle County on a citation for failing to use a seat belt and for failing to appear in court, and warrant issued in Frio County for theft up to $750; remains in jail as of March 20.

Melissa Michele Rosales, 43, of Cotulla; arrested 4:52 p.m. Saturday, March 18, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for traveling with an unrestrained child, driving without a license and failing to appear in court, and warrant issued in La Salle County for driving without a license; court-ordered release after 23 hours.

Idalmis Amparo Pedroso, 24, of Cotulla; arrested 2:41 p.m. Sunday, March 19, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication and Class C misdemeanor assault; court-ordered release after 13 hours.

Adan Ruiz, 44, of Cotulla; arrested 5:06 a.m. Sunday, March 19, by the Sheriff’s Office; second-degree felony sexual assault; remains in jail as of March 20.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Fernando Ruiz, released on bond after 29 days, 14 hours; Cody Dee Canion, released on bond after 24 days, 15 hours; Ricardo Rangel, court-ordered release after 14 days, one hour; Guadalupe Suarez Diaz, released on bond after eight days, three hours; Ezdra Eli Barron, released on bond after one day, 11 hours; and Jose Arturo Rosales, released on bond after 21 hours.    

March 14, 2017

Notice of
Estray

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has recovered a stray bull, seven to eight years of age, dun-colored, with a yellow ear tag with number 34, weighing approximately 1,400 lbs., with no brand, from a pasture in Los Angeles. Claimants should contact the Pleasanton Sale Barn, where the animal is being held.  

March 13, 2017

Arrests,
March 6-13: Officers cuff 13

By Marc Robertson
Thirteen subjects were arrested in La Salle County on a range of charges between Monday, March 6 and 13, by sheriff’s deputies and by troopers of the Texas Highway Patrol.

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

Guadalupe Suarez Diaz, 69, of San Antonio; arrested 7:47 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, by the Texas DPS; Class A misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (second offense); remains in jail as of March 13.

Omar Orlando Ortegon, 30, of Kingsville, Texas; arrested 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County Court for failing to appear in court; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Abel Israel Zertuche, 53, of Cotulla; arrested 3:52 p.m. Thursday, March 9, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County Court for Class A misdemeanor abuse of official capacity up to $2,500; released on bond after two hours.

Rene Garza, 52, of Cotulla; arrested 6:07 p.m. Thursday, March 9, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County Court for Class A misdemeanor abuse of official capacity up to $2,500; released on bond after three hours.

Rosalinda Hernandez, 49, of San Antonio; arrested 1:25 p.m. Friday, March 10, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in Karnes County for failing to appear in court on a charge of speeding; released on bond after one day, one hour.

Jesus Cantu Garza Jr., 38, of Cotulla; arrested 8:59 p.m. Saturday, March 11, by the Sheriff’s office; warrants issued in Cotulla Municipal Court for disregarding stop sign and for speeding; released after 17 hours.

Vanessa Blue Echols, 37, of Corpus Christi; arrested 12:05 a.m. Sunday, March 12, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and warrant issued in Nueces County for failure to appear in court; released on bond after one day, nine hours.

Janie Vela Vasquez, 47, of Bay City, Texas; arrested 12:10 a.m. Sunday, March 12, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after 13 hours.

Rolando Jesse Perales, 50, of Cotulla; arrested 1:27 a.m. Sunday, March 12, by the Texas DPS; warrant issued in La Salle County for failing to appear in court on a charge of disorderly conduct; released on bond after 13 hours.

Reymundo DeLeon, 52, of Cotulla; arrested 6:34 p.m. Sunday, March 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court and for an open container violation; court-ordered release after 16 hours.

Ezdra Eli Barron, 23, of Laredo; arrested 1:50 p.m. Monday, March 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; remains in jail as of March 13.

Greg Dunford, 25, of Cotulla; arrested 2:50 p.m. Monday, March 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by the Austin Pardon & Parole Board for parole violation; remains in jail as of March 13.

Jose Arturo Rosales, 21, of Laredo; arrested 9:55 p.m. Monday, March 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court; remains in jail as of March 13.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Gina Marie Chavira, transferred after ten days, 20 hours; Aurelio Rios Jr., transferred after nine days, 18 hours; Timothy Karl Hall, released on bond after one day, two hours; and Lamar Renaee Galvan, court-ordered release after seven hours.    

March 9, 2017

Two grand jury indictments...

County employees face misdemeanor charges

By Marc Robertson
An investigation by the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers has led to a pair of grand jury indictments being handed down against former employees of the Precinct 1 county commissioner for allegedly misappropriating government-owned equipment.

Charges of abuse of official capacity up to a value of $2,500 were filed against 53-year-old Abel Zertuche, former supervisor for the Road & Bridge services in the precinct; and against Rene Garza, 52, a former worker in the county’s road crews. Both Cotulla residents were arrested Thursday, March 9, after the La Salle County Grand Jury had concluded its hearing.

According to investigators, the pair deployed county equipment for private use during 2016, notably the grading and leveling of at least seven miles of privately owned roads inside a ranch at which Garza was also employed as manager.

The case indicates that the two men used county road equipment to do the job and that the work was performed after the men had ended their shifts as county employees.

Zertuche was remanded into custody by La Salle County Sheriff’s Capt. Jose Garcia shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday at the county jail and released on bond after two hours behind bars. Garza was arrested shortly after 6 p.m. the same day by La Salle Sgt. Rickey Galvan, remanded into custody at the county jail and released on bond after three hours.  
Zertuche
Garza

March 6, 2017

Arrests,
Feb. 27 - March 6: Officers cuff 11

By Marc Robertson
Eleven subjects were taken into custody by La Salle County sheriff’s deputies over the past week on a range of charges from misdemeanors to felonies, including some on warrants issued by justices of the peace and in other counties.

Those taken into custody between Monday, February 27, and Monday, March 6, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla, are as follows:

Francisco Martinez, 52, of Cotulla; arrested 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass; released on bond after 19 hours.

Alejandro Arebalo, 54, of Cotulla; arrested 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, by the Sheriff’s Office; two-year sentencing in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Erasmo Ramirez, 34, of Cotulla; arrested 1:32 a.m. Wednesday, March 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury in family violence; released on bond after six hours.

Aurelio Rios Jr., 42, of Cotulla; arrested 4:10 p.m. Thursday, March 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in Bexar County for intoxication obstruction of a highway, and warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for speeding and violating a promise to appear in court; remains in jail as of Monday, March 6.

Noemi Trevino, 42, of Dilley; arrested 6:01 p.m. Thursday, March 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, and warrant issued in Frio County on probation violation; remains in jail as of Monday, March 6.

Francisco Nunez, 52, of Laredo; arrested 10:50 p.m. Thursday, March 2, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor driving a commercial vehicle while disqualified; released on bond after 12 hours.

Krystal Ann Rodriguez, 23, of Cotulla; arrested 12:11 a.m. Friday, March 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving without a license; released on bond after ten hours.

Jose Antonio Ramirez, 43, of Jackson, Texas; arrested 1:10 a.m. Friday, March 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; third-degree felony driving while intoxicated; released on bond after 14 hours.

Ricardo Rangel, 32, of Encinal; arrested 1:05 p.m. Friday, March 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; commitment for nonpayment of child support.

Timothy Karl Hall, 40, of Crowley, Texas; arrested 2:58 p.m. Sunday, March 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued through Lake Worth Police Department for evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle; remains in jail as of Monday, March 6.

Lamar Renaee Galvan, 17, of Cotulla; arrested 12:35 a.m. Monday, March 6, by the Sheriff’s Department; misdemeanor disorderly conduct; court-ordered release after seven hours.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Matthew Griffin, court-ordered release after five days, one hour. 

February 27, 2017

Deputy helped resuscitation efforts...

Child hospitalized after pool accident

By Marc Robertson
A child remains hospitalized in San Antonio this week after falling into a swimming pool on a ranch outside Cotulla on Sunday evening, February 26, and being resuscitated by family members and a sheriff’s deputy.

Dispatched on the emergency call shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday, La Salle County Deputy Andres Flores arrived at the gates of the Storey Ranch to find that a three-year-old girl had lost consciousness and may have been drowning in the pool when she had been discovered and pulled from the water.

Deputy Flores was joined at the scene moments later by Deputy Daniela Flores, who confirmed that the girl appeared to have inhaled a potentially lethal amount of water and was unresponsive. Family members had transported the child in the back of a pickup truck to the ranch gates, where they were met by the officers.   

The deputies noted that family members had begun performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on the child and that the girl had begun exhaling some of the fluid. Resuscitation efforts continued in the deputies’ patrol vehicles.

“We knew that paramedics were on their way, but we had to take action in the meantime,” Deputy Andres Flores said of the emergency. “The family told me that they believed the child was regaining consciousness, but the situation was still critical.”

The deputy continued efforts to resuscitate the child and to help the girl void her lungs of water.

“I knew that there was a serious danger of breaking the child’s ribcage if we applied too much pressure,” the deputy said. “I employed a method of resuscitation known as a sternum rub that helped coax the child into exhaling more of the fluid. These were desperate moments, but we began seeing results.”

The child was subsequently airlifted to Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio from Cotulla Airport after receiving further treatment from La Salle County Fire Rescue & EMS medics.

Deputies have noted that the swimming pool accident may have occurred in moments during which the child had slipped from a supervised environment.

“We believe there was a family gathering at the ranch house and that the girl’s mother had noticed that her child was missing,” Deputy Daniela Flores said. “It had only been a matter of seconds. When the mother stepped outside, she saw the child floating face-down in the water. She immediately jumped into the swimming pool and lifted her daughter out.”

“We may never know how many seconds passed while the child was in the water,” Deputy Andres Flores said. “This incident was a great shock to all those involved because the accident happened in the blink of an eye.”   

Oaths of
Office

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez took his oath of office for his second elected term as the head law enforcement officer for the county in a brief ceremony the district courtroom on Monday, January 2, in the presence of County Judge Joel Rodriguez and Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez. Also taking their oaths of office on Sunday and Monday for new terms after prevailing in their respective elections during 2016 were (Photo above right) Constable Rene Maldonado, (Photos below, L-R) Constables Guy Megliorino, Oscar Tellez and Hector Ramirez (pictured right with new La Salle County Commissioner Erasmo Ramirez).

February 27, 2017

Arrests,
Feb. 20-27: Officers cuff 16

By Marc Robertson
Sixteen individuals were taken into custody by local law enforcement officers over the past week on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office.

Arrests were made by sheriff’s deputies and officers of the Cotulla City Patrol between Monday, February 20 and Feb. 27.

One man was taken to jail on a felony assault charge two days after being released on bond from a week’s worth of jail time on a misdemeanor assault and injury charge.

Those taken into custody, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, included the following:

Marco A. Gonzalez, 34, of Cotulla; arrested 9:07 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor violating a bond or protective order; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 27.

Jarod Michael Maltsberger, 30, of Austin; arrested 11:05 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is suspended; court-ordered release after 15 hours.

Jesus R. Alvarado, 46, of Cotulla; arrested 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 27.

Tiffany Overstreet Jordan, 39, of Encinal; arrested 7:02 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for Class A misdemeanor misappropriation of fiduciary property; released on bond after two hours.

Matthew Cody Graham, 53, of Huntsville, Texas; arrested 1:20 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for Class A misdemeanor misappropriation of fiduciary property; released on bond after one hour.

Matthew Griffin, 18, of San Antonio; arrested 1:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court for failure to appear in court on a charge of possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 27.

Richard Ray Twiss II, 25, of San Antonio; arrested 1:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; released on bond after two days, nine hours.

Ricardo Carreon Hernandez, 45, of Laredo; arrested 1:25 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after nine hours.

Bartley Wayne Grimes, 41, of Encinal; arrested 10:05 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County for Class A misdemeanor misappropriation of fiduciary property; released on bond after one hour.

Roger Lee Salinas, 36, of Lewisville, Texas; arrested 8:17 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle District Court for probation revocation on a charge of driving while intoxicated, and warrant issued for failure to appear in court on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated; released on bond after four hours.

Joseph Edward Rodriguez Jr., 38, of Cotulla; arrested 3:25 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after six hours.

Sabrina Blanca Rodriguez, 34, of Cotulla; arrested 3:25 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving without a license; released on bond after six hours.

Covey Allen Murray, 28, of Cotulla; arrested 11:47 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and for driving without a seatbelt (driver or passenger); released on bond after nine hours.

Antonio Garcia, 60, of Cotulla; arrested 5:43 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by Cotulla Municipal Court for misdemeanor disregarding a stop sign; released on bond after three hours.

Belinda Fletcher, 53, of Cotulla; arrested 6:27 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor disorderly conduct; court-ordered release after 19 hours.

Gina Marie Chavira, 31, of Dilley; arrested 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County District Court for revocation of probation on a charge of possession of a controlled substance and for failure to appear in court; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 27.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Billy Joe Rodriguez, released on bond after 29 days, 13 hours; Jesus R. Alvarado, released on bond after eight days, 11 hours; Luis Angel Limon, released after two days; and Cody Canion, released after seven days, 15 hours.  

February 24, 2017

Case has been turned over to DA...

Three face charges for mishandling detention center funds

By Marc Robertson
Charges of fund misapplication have been filed against three former administrators of the La Salle County Regional Detention Center at Encinal following an investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Texas Rangers.

Former warden of the detention center Matthew Cody Graham, 53, former assistant warden Bartley Wayne Grimes, 41, and former business administrator Tiffany Overstreet Jordan, 39, were taken into custody by the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office in separate arrests Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 22-24, on Class A misdemeanor charges. Each was no longer employed by the sheriff’s office, having resigned earlier in the year.

The Regional Detention Center in southern La Salle County holds detainees of the US Marshals Service awaiting federal court appointments in Webb County. The sheriff’s office manages the facility and is responsible for hiring all of its administrators and staff.

In a brief statement on the case this week, the sheriff’s office indicated that the three suspects may have failed to notify their superiors during the summer of 2016 that some of the federal detainees’ personal effects - notably cash – had been stolen and, instead of summoning an investigation into the apparent theft, allegedly diverted funds from a trustee account to repay the detainees what had been taken from them.

In some cases, funds that had been stolen included Mexican currency. In most cases, the detainees were repaid upon their release from custody, the sheriff’s office indicated.

It was during a routine visit to the detention center at Encinal in mid-September last year that representatives of the US Marshals Service were made aware of the initial theft of the detainees’ funds and noted that the crimes had not been reported to the sheriff’s office. The alleged misapplication of the center’s funds reportedly followed, when an investigation was launched.

The original thefts had allegedly occurred in August, according to investigators.

The case has been turned over to the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office for prosecution because each of the detention center administrators was a public official at the time of the alleged fund misuse.
Graham
Grimes
Jordan

February 22, 2017

Arrest warrant has been signed:
Is construction scam artist back in town?

Arturo Osteguin failed to do jobs for which he was paid, victims say

By Marc Robertson
A man who allegedly took money from Cotulla residents for home improvement jobs that he never completed may have returned to the area in search of new scam victims, according to investigating officers.

Identified as Arturo Osteguin, 52, the San Antonio man has previously provided various business names and phone numbers, many of which are fictitious or are no longer in service, and he is believed to have taken thousands of dollars from homeowners in Cotulla as recently as 2015 before disappearing for a year.

Among those investigating Osteguin’s alleged theft of services is La Salle County Sheriff’s Deputy Andres Flores, who is quick to note that the apparent scam artist is not believed to be working in collaboration with another home improvement contractor with the same last name.

“We understand from our investigations that Arturo Osteguin may be the brother of Mike Osteguin, who is doing legitimate work in the area,” the deputy said. “We contacted Mike Osteguin on Monday, February 20, and he reassured us that he and Arturo are not in business together and that he has no dealings with his brother.”

Arturo Osteguin is described as 5’11” in height, weighing 280 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes.

“What we are concerned about is the possibility that Arturo Osteguin is back in the area and that he is contacting people, asking for payment towards jobs that he may not ever do,” the deputy said. “From what we have learned so far, he has a history of proposing to do construction jobs and asking for up-front payment for materials, and then never returning.”

In a 2015 case on file at the sheriff’s office, Osteguin is accused of having taken $1,500 from a homeowner on Tilden Street for a project that was never carried out. The complaint against the suspect alleges that Osteguin made promises that he never kept, that he signed a work agreement, that he cashed a check for the advance payment the following day and then virtually disappeared, failing to answer telephone calls, changing his telephone number and becoming untraceable on the internet.

Deputy Flores said he was alerted to the case when the homeowner filed a complaint some eight months later. The deputy noted that he was able to track Arturo Osteguin to a San Antonio telephone number and contacted the man.

“He called me back again to confirm that he would have [the client’s] full deposit of $1,500 back by December 22 or risk facing criminal theft-of-service charges,” the deputy said of the case, adding that Osteguin never made any such effort and failed to meet a deadline for repaying the money he had taken from the homeowner. An arrest warrant for Arturo Osteguin was subsequently issued by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez.

Deputy Flores said this week that further reports indicate the homeowner on Tilden Street is not Arturo Osteguin’s only scam victim.

“We believe there are other homeowners who have been tricked in the same way, and that some residents may be ashamed to step forward and admit they were tricked,” the deputy said. “We need people to come forward and help us in this case. We don’t want to see any more innocent people defrauded of their hard-earned money.”

February 21, 2017

Court dodgers face immediate arrest

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is signing arrest warrants this week for a number of individuals who have failed to meet court obligations.

Those listed will be subject to arrest at home, at work, or in the course of traffic stops if they are identified by sheriff’s deputies.

Arrest warrants are being issued this week for the following:

Kathy Lee Arriazola, 30; changing lane when unsafe, driving without a license.
Carlos Barrera III, 25; driving while license is not valid.
Brenda Nichole Hinkle, 23; driving without a commercial license.
Lorissa Ibanez, age not listed; issuing a bad check.
Esteban Xavier Lopez, 29; driving without a license.
Lucia Rosales, 45; failing to maintain financial responsibility, driving without a license, failing to wear a safety belt.
Julie Lee Ruiz, 32; speeding, driving across a divided road section when prohibited.
Maria Savell Salinas, 43; disorderly conduct, driving without a license, driving with expired motor vehicle inspection; driving with expired motor vehicle registration, failing to maintain financial responsibility.
Rolando Sanchez Galvez, 52; driving without a license.
Dionicio Q. Sanchez, 41; speeding.

The justice of the peace’s office is on Center Street facing Cotulla Veterans Park downtown. Those who have been listed may be subject to further charges for failing to appear in court and have forfeited the right to make arrangements by telephone. A telephone call does not constitute a court appearance.

February 20, 2017

Suspect accused of injuring father...

One in jail after multi-agency manhunt through brush

By Marc Robertson
A Cotulla man was remanded into custody Monday afternoon, February 20, after officers from several agencies tracked him through the brush west of Cotulla on suspicion that he had injured his father and was armed with a handgun.

Identified as 39-year-old Cody Canion, the suspect in the case was reported as having engaged in an altercation with his father at the family’s ranch property in Woodward, and a 9-1-1 call to the La Salle County emergency dispatch prompted several sheriff’s deputies to head for the scene shortly after 4 p.m.

In a report on the case this week, deputies noted that Canion’s father had called the emergency number and had only been able to say “I need help” before the line went silent. In a subsequent call, the man told emergency dispatchers that his son had struck the phone from his hand, preventing him from reporting an assault.

La Salle Deputy Daniela Flores was first to be dispatched to the property on Harvey Smith Road and was joined by Deputy Andres Flores, Corporal Anthony Zertuche and La Salle Constable Hector Ramirez. The officers arrived to find a senior citizen alone at the home and appearing to suffer from an injury to the arm. The man reported that his son had slammed a door on him, causing the injury.

Officers examined the suspect’s home on the ranch and noted that Canion appeared to have left. At that time, the suspect’s father indicated that a 9mm handgun was missing from the house.

Moments later, Canion himself called the emergency dispatcher and said he would not come out of the brush voluntarily, adding that officers would have to find him if they wanted to take him into custody.

“We immediately treated this as a case of a fugitive being armed and possibly dangerous,” Deputy Andres Flores said of the incident. “We began tracking Canion through the brush, but he appeared not to have followed any trails or roads. We believe he went straight through the thick brush.”

La Salle Investigator Homar Olivarez arrived at the property with his K-9 Unit to help track the suspect through the brush.

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office notified the US Border Patrol of the incident and received confirmation that two teams of agents were on their way to assist in the manhunt. Sheriff’s deputies then contacted ET Page at Cotulla Airport for aerial surveillance.

Deputy Daniela Flores was taken airborne in Page’s helicopter and helped track Canion through the brush as the suspect headed southeast.

Canion was apprehended within minutes of being spotted from the air when he emerged onto FM 469 and was met by Border Patrol agents. La Salle Sgt. Rickey Galvan and Deputy Jose Avila had also reached the scene when Canion was corralled.

Canion was unarmed when he was taken into custody.

The suspect was transported to the La Salle County Jail on misdemeanor charges of assault causing bodily injury in family violence and interfering with an emergency call. Deputies were dispatched to the county jail later in the day to help jailers restrain the suspect after he allegedly became violent while in custody.   
La Salle Investigator Homar Olivarez, his K-9 officer Ben, and Corporal Anthony Zertuche patrol the brush line near Woodward on Monday afternoon, February 20, as aerial surveillance is deployed in the manhunt for a local man accused of assault.
(Courtesy photo)  

La Salle sheriff’s deputies are joined by a county constable and the US Border Patrol in helping track a suspect through the brush country west of Cotulla on Monday afternoon, February 20. A local man has since been charged with assault.
(Courtesy photo)

February 20, 2017

Arrests,
February13-20 : Officers
cuff 14

By Marc Robertson
Fourteen suspects were taken into custody in La Salle County over the past week on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges.

Arrests were made by sheriff’s deputies, officers of the Cotulla Patrol Division and Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol troopers.

Those charged, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, between Monday, February 13 and Feb. 20, are as follows:

Jacquis Deon Stevenson, 49, of San Antonio; arrested 5:50 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle District Court for third-degree felony kidnapping and for failing to appear in court on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in family violence; released on bond after 11 hours.

Leticia Villa Galvan, 55, of Falfurrias, Texas; arrested 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury in family violence; released on bond after one day, 16 hours.

Ana Ysabel De La Rosa, 50, of Pearsall; arrested 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of resisting arrest or transport and for failing to appear in court on a charge of burglary of a building; court-ordered release after five hours.

Jerrid Dees Greer, 24, of Pleasanton; arrested 4:25 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for speeding, and warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and failing to display a driver’s license; released on bond after three hours.

Jeffery Lynn Stroud, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 7:25 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor violation of a bond or protective order; released on bond after one day, two hours.

Robin Renee Flores, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor disorderly conduct; released on bond after one day.

Reynaldo Ruiz Jr., 35, of Freer; arrested 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, by the Texas DPS; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is suspended and for violating a promise to appear in court; court-ordered release after 19 hours.

Esteban Linan Lopez, 45, of Encinal; arrested 7:25 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, (arresting agency not listed); second degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, and warrant issued for disorderly conduct; released on bond after one day, 19 hours.

Sandra Esmeralda Rodriguez, 37, of Encinal; arrested 7:38 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, (arresting agency not listed); second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; on hold for the US Border Patrol.

Antonio Garcia, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 5:25 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County and by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for failing to maintain financial responsibility and failing to appear in court in Medina County on a charge of driving while license is not valid; released on bond after five hours.

Joel Omar Gonzalez, 49, of Mirando City, Texas; arrested 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after ten hours.

Kevin James Malone, 37, of Gatesville, Texas; arrested 1:20 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after eight hours.

Luis Angel Limon, 19, of Cotulla; arrested 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County Court for Class A misdemeanor failing to appear in court on a charge of theft up to $500; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 20.

Cody Dee Canion, 39, of Cotulla; arrested 5:47 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury in family violence, Class A misdemeanor interfering with an emergency call; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 20.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Ernesto Telles Jr., released on bond after 90 days, three hours; Lorenzo Adames, court-ordered release after 13 days, six hours; Daniel Adrian Salazar, transferred after nine days, 16 hours; Emanuel Hermoso, court-ordered release after two days; Benito Quintero Uribe, transferred after eight days, two hours; Jesus Alvarado, released on bond after eight days, eleven hours; Juan Bernardo Sanchez, court-ordered release after one day, 12 hours; James Dean Davis, court-ordered release after 19 hours; and Jerimiah Sambrano, court-ordered release after two days, nine hours.

February 16, 2017

Cocaine, cash, firearm among evidence seized...

Two in custody after Encinal drug raid

By Marc Robertson
A task force that included La Salle County sheriff’s deputies and federal agents took two drug trafficking suspects into custody during a coordinated raid at an Encinal residence Thursday afternoon, February 16, and seized a quantity of cocaine, currency and a firearm.

In a brief statement on the case, investigators indicated they had gathered evidence over a period of time before applying for a search warrant, adding that this included surveillance of the home in the 600 block of North Tejas Avenue and information from local residents regarding drug traffic in their community.

Agents entering the home discovered cocaine, over $2,900 in cash, a stolen rifle and various items regarded as drug paraphernalia associated with the packaging of narcotics for sale. The officers have indicated that the suspects may have attempted to use food to conceal narcotics in the home.

The suspects in the case have been identified as Esteban Lopez, 45, and Sandra Rodriguez, 37, both of Encinal. Both have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; Lopez has also been charged with possession of stolen property. Investigators have since confirmed that Rodriguez is an undocumented immigrant.

Agents also seized three all-terrain vehicles, three trailers, a 2008 Chevrolet pickup truck and a 2007 Ford pickup truck in the raid.
The suspects were booked at the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla on Thursday evening.   
La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez examines narcotics and other contraband seized in a multi-agency task force raid at a home in Encinal on Thursday afternoon, February 16. Two suspects were remanded into custody on drug possession charges; cocaine, cash and a firearm were among the evidence recovered at the scene.

February 15, 2017

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has taken custody of a stray cow, dun in color, with no horns, no brand or ear tag. Cow has yellow fly-tag. Weight between 1,200 and 1,300 lbs.
Cow was picked up in vicinity of Martin Ranch, off Plocek Road.
Claimants should contact Robin Clark at the Pearsall Livestock Auction.

Notice of Estray

February 13, 2017

JP signs arrest warrants for court no-shows

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 after being issued with citations for a range of misdemeanors.

Those listed by the JP this week will be subject to immediate arrest at home, at work on in the course of routine traffic stops if they are identified by sheriff’s deputies.

Failure to appear in court when ordered constitutes a misdemeanor and may be filed as an additional charge against the defendants.

Those who will be subject to arrest if they do not make an appearance in the JP court include the following:

Lorenzo Adames, age not listed, public intoxication.
Ruby M. Aguilar, 51, issuing a bad check.
Paulino Bernal, 46, issuing a bad check.
Rodolfo X. Campos, 30, issuing a bad check.
Rosa Campos, 58, issuing a bad check.
Juan Daniel Cano, 44, speeding more than ten percent above the posted limit
Bianca B. Flores, 27, possession of drug paraphernalia.
Imelda M. Flores, 52, issuing a bad check.
Jesus Gomez, 56, issuing a bad check.
Felipe J. Gonzalez III, 32, issuing a bad check.
William C. Hinze, 55, driving a vehicle that exceeds its weight restrictions.
Elevirto Lopez Jr., age not listed, issuing a bad check.
Juan Javier Martinez, 54, permit violation.

The justice of the peace’s office is at 212 Center Street, in a building facing Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla. Those who have failed to make court appearances and for whom arrest warrants are being issued have forfeited the ability to make payment arrangements with the JP by telephone. A telephone call does not constitute a court appearance.

February 13, 2017

Arrests,
February 6-13: Officers
cuff 18

By Marc Robertson
Eighteen suspects were taken to jail in La Salle County over the past week, with arrests made by sheriff’s deputies, officers of the Cotulla City Patrol and troopers of the Texas DPS Highway Patrol.

One man was arrested twice.

Those taken into custody between February 6 and Monday, Feb. 13, with arrest times logged at booking in the La Salle County Jail, included the following:

Daniel Adrian Salazar, 19, of Cotulla; arrested 5:06 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, by the Sheriff’s Office; jail commitment, warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is not valid, and warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court; remains in jail as of Monday, Feb. 13.

Elliot Anthony Esparza, 22, of San Antonio; arrested 8:28 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, by the Sheriff’s Office; felony warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Juan Martinez Jr., 32, of Cotulla; arrested 2:39 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, by the Cotulla City Patrol; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after 11 hours.

Kevin Chafik Melendez, 31, of George West, Texas; arrested 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County on probation violation for driving while intoxicated with a prior conviction; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Maritza Velma Gonzalez, 26, of Cotulla; arrested 5:42 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court and driving while license is not valid; court-ordered release after one hour.

Danny Champlin Estrada, 34, of Lytle, Texas; arrested 10:42 a.m. Friday, Feb. 10, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after ten hours.

Jesus R. Alvarado, 46, of Cotulla; arrested 5:35 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 19 hours. Arrested 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, misdemeanor public intoxication; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Emanuel Hermoso, 21, of Gardendale; arrested 2:55 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication, Class B misdemeanor reckless driving, warrants issued in La Salle County for violating a promise to appear in court, driving without a license, displaying an expired driver’s license, and failing to maintain financial responsibility; court-ordered release after two days.

Benito Quintero Uribe, 30, of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico; arrested 9:40 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, by the Cotulla City Patrol; warrant issued in Tarrant County for driving while intoxicated with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, and two warrants issued in Johnson County for harboring a runaway child; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Jesus Torres Espinosa, 56, of Bagwell, Texas; arrested 10:06 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, by the Texas DPS; Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

Gary Joseph Movan, 52, of Bertram, Texas; arrested 12:43 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class C misdemeanor assault; court-ordered release after 13 hours.

Jesse Rolando Tucker, 39, of Robstown, Texas; arrested 12:42 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; released on bond after 14 hours.

Noe Gutierrez, 40, of Cotulla; arrested 2:50 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor warrant issued in La Salle County for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving while license is not valid, and warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is not valid and violating a promise to appear in court; released on bond after 13 hours.

Juan Bernardo Sanchez, 37, of Cotulla; arrested 2:56 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued in La Salle County District Court for failure to appear in court on a third-degree felony charge of driving while intoxicated; court-ordered release after one day, 12 hours.

James Dean Davis, 42, of Cotulla; arrested 6:01 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Cotulla City Patrol; misdemeanor public intoxication; court-ordered release after 19 hours.

Fernando Ruiz, 48, of Cotulla; arrested 11:44 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor family violence assault causing bodily injury, and two counts of Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Elisema Rivera Jones, 45, of Cotulla and New Braunfels; arrested 1:01 a.m. Monday, Feb. 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, third-degree felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and two counts of Class A misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

Jerimiah Sambrano, 26, of Dilley; arrested 3:33 a.m. Monday, Feb. 13, by the Sheriff’s Office; multiple warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for violating a promise to appear in court, failing to maintain financial responsibility, and driving without a license; remains in jail as of Feb. 13.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as remaining in jail and since released or transferred include Amanda Roxann Hartley, court-ordered release after 19 days, 21 hours; Michael Finis Turner, court-ordered release after 15 days, 16 hours; Marco Antonio Gonzalez, released on bond after two days, five hours; and Abelardo Molina, released on bond after 21 hours.

February 13, 2017

One in custody after vehicle search reveals drugs

By Marc Robertson
A New Braunfels woman was remanded into custody this week on a number of drug and weapon charges after La Salle County sheriff’s deputies examined her vehicle during the early hours of Monday, February 13.

Identified as Elisema Rivera Jones, 45, the woman had been at the wheel of a Chevrolet Suburban that had been spotted parking in front of the Hot Shots game parlor near the intersection of IH-35 and North Main Street in Cotulla shortly after midnight Monday, according to investigating officers.

First to arrive at the scene after the vehicle was reported as suspicious, La Salle Deputy Alfred Gonzalez interviewed the woman and her passenger, 38-year-old Tamra Jean Foulds of Cotulla, to learn that the pair had driven to the business in order to play games on the machines in the parlor but that the business had closed for the night.

The deputy asked for and was given permission to examine the vehicle and was assisted by Deputies Michael Hernandez, Andres Flores, Elvira Gonzales and Cesar Villarreal.

The vehicle was found to contain a digital scale bearing cocaine residue, a drawstring bag with narcotics for which Jones did not have a prescription, tinfoil containing crystal methamphetamine, and other drug paraphernalia.
Jones’ handbag contained a quantity of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia, Deputy Gonzalez said.

The vehicle also contained a .22-caliber rifle that was missing its wooden stock, according to investigating officers, and a further search of the Suburban revealed a bag of ammunition for the rifle.

Although Jones told officers that the rifle was a non-functioning family heirloom, its mechanism was in working order, Deputy Hernandez said.

As a convicted felon, Jones is prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. The presence of ammunition and the rifle’s apparent working condition qualified the item as a firearm, according to the officers.

Jones was arrested on two counts of possession of a dangerous drug for the two varieties of prescription drugs found in the vehicle, one count of possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 for the crystal methamphetamine that had been wrapped in tinfoil, one count of marijuana possession for the drugs found in her handbag, and a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Foulds was questioned and released without charge and is not listed as having been in possession of any narcotics.    

February 11, 2017

Two travelers seriously injured...

Deputies first on scene at Gardendale crash

By Marc Robertson
La Salle County sheriff’s deputies were the first to arrive at the scene of a single-vehicle crash at Gardendale shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, February 11, and may have contributed to life-saving measures for two seriously injured travelers.

A preliminary report on the crash indicates that a late-model Mazda sedan had been traveling north on the IH-35 east-side access road when its driver may have failed to negotiate a left-hand curve in the road, causing the car to leave the pavement and strike the nearby Union Pacific railroad line. The vehicle had come to rest near the railroad tracks at the Gardendale underpass and appeared to have flipped a number of times.

La Salle Cpl. Anthony Zertuche and Deputies Alfred Gonzales and Enrique Velez were dispatched to the scene after a passing motorist called 9-1-1 to report the crash. The officers arrived within minutes to find that both vehicle occupants had sustained life-threatening injuries and that the driver had been ejected from the vehicle during the rollover. The driver has been identified as Catherine Esquivel, 19, of Pearsall. The passenger’s door had been torn off its hinges in the crash and the man was standing beside the car when officers arrived. The passenger has been identified as Orlando David Silva, 22, of Dilley.

According to the sheriff’s office, the corporal and deputies were able to help prevent the passenger from succumbing to his injuries by applying a tourniquet using the man’s own trouser belt until medics from the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS reached the scene moments later.

The case is being handled by the Texas Highway Patrol, whose troopers are conducting an investigation into the causes of the crash.

February 7, 2017

Multi-agency investigation examines
drug case, weapons cache in Cotulla

By Marc Robertson
Federal law enforcement agents are working with the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office this week in the investigation of a case in which a local man is believed to have been in possession of narcotics and a number of firearms.

According to a brief statement from the sheriff’s office Tuesday, February 7, 33-year-old Abelardo Molina was taken into custody shortly after 10:30 p.m. Sunday when he was found in possession of 12 grams of cocaine.

Officers had been alerted to Molina’s behavior outside a downtown establishment Sunday evening and investigated what they later described as a minor disturbance. Molina, however, was detained for questioning and was found to be carrying a quantity of narcotics.

Further investigation into Molina’s activities resulted in the execution of a search warrant at a residence on Matamoros Street and the discovery of additional narcotics, drug paraphernalia and a number of illegal firearms, according to the sheriff’s office. Federal agents were subsequently notified of the case.  

Molina was booked at the La Salle County Jail on a second-degree felony drug possession charge Sunday night and may face additional charges pending the outcome of the investigation. He remains behind bars in lieu of bond as of Tuesday.  

February 6, 2017

Arrests,
Jan. 31 - Feb. 6: Officers
cuff 16

By Marc Robertson
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that 16 suspects were taken into custody by local deputies and officers of the Cotulla City Patrol over the past week on a range of misdemeanor and felony charges.

Those arrested and booked at the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla between Tuesday, January 31, and Monday, February 6, are listed as follows:

Georgeanna Munoz, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 12:25 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for disregarding a stop sign; released on bond after five hours.

James Dean Davis, 42, of Cotulla; arrested 7:42 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrant issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for driving while license is not valid; court-ordered release after 13 hours.

Javier Nieto, 18, of Cotulla; arrested 11:38 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, by the Cotulla City Patrol; Class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2A; released on bond after 14 hours.

Lorenzo Adames, 23, of McAllen, Texas; arrested 1:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued in La Salle County for failing to appear in court on an assault charge; remains in jail as of Feb. 6.

Joe Jacob Cantu, 27, of Cotulla; arrested 4:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, by the Sheriff’s Office; warrants issued by La Salle County Justice of the Peace for Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest and Class B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated; released on bond after 17 hours.

Rene Valadez Jr., 20, of Laredo; arrested 4:18 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; released on bond after 19 hours.

Sonny Perales, 36, of Cotulla; arrested 11:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4., by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 18 hours.

Senovio Perales III, 40, of Pearsall; arrested 11:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 18 hours.

Nora Hernandez, 47, of Cotulla; arrested 2:31 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class B misdemeanor interfering with public duties; released on bond after 15 hours.

Guadalupe Hernandez, 21, of Encinal; arrested 2:32 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor disorderly conduct; released on bond after 13 hours.

Cynthia Contreras, 25, of Cotulla; arrested 2:35 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor disorderly conduct; released on bond after 14 hours.

Antonio Garcia, 60, of Cotulla; arrested 2:34 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; state jail felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1, third-degree felony evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle; released on bond after 19 hours.

Marco Antonio Gonzalez, 34, of Cotulla; arrested 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; Class A misdemeanor violation of bond / interfering with a protective order; remains in jail as of Feb. 6.

Carlos Enrique Perales, 35, of Cotulla; arrested 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released on bond after 21 hours.

Abelardo Molina, 33, of Cotulla; arrested 10:35 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1; remains in jail as of Feb. 6.

Luis Orozco Jr., 26, of Encinal; arrested 10:38 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, by the Sheriff’s Office; misdemeanor public intoxication; released after 11 hours on promise to pay fines.

*Addendum: Those previously listed as still in jail and since released or transferred include Antonio Alvarado, transferred after seven days, 19 hours.

February 4, 2017

Mom found the backpack...

After crash, driver admits to having drugs at home

By Marc Robertson
A Laredo man was taken into custody on a marijuana possession charge by the La Salle Country Sheriff’s Office on Saturday afternoon, February 4, after being involved in a collision on IH-35 and admitting to a deputy that he had more narcotics at home.

The case developed after Deputy Juan Mirelez was dispatched to the scene of a crash in the southbound lanes of the interstate near Milemarker 60 at around 3 p.m. Saturday and arrived to find that two vehicles had sustained minor damage in a sideswipe as the result of a poorly executed lane change. Both vehicles had come to a halt on the roadside shoulder. There were no serious injuries reported.  

Deputy Mirelez noted that the driver of a 2010 Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicle was likely at fault in the collision, as he appeared to have steered his vehicle into the side of a pickup truck.
The driver was identified as 20-year-old Rene Valadez Jr. of Laredo. Deputy Mirelez noted that Valadez appeared unaffected by the collision and was exhibiting signs of intoxication. When asked to provide documentation for his vehicle insurance, Valadez was unable to do so and volunteered to call his mother for the information.

The driver of the vehicle that had been struck on the highway was identified as San Juana Salinas of Sanger, Texas. She and her passenger, Carlos Salinas, reported to the investigating deputy that they had likewise noted Valadez’ unusual behavior.

“The driver’s mother then admitted to me over the phone that there was no insurance coverage on the Jeep,” Deputy Mirelez said. “I then questioned Valadez regarding his possible drug use, and he admitted to me that he was in possession of marijuana.”

Valadez was found to be carrying two cigar tubes, one of which contained a rolled marijuana cigarette; the other contained marijuana residue, the deputy said.

Mirelez was joined at the scene by Texas DPS Highway Patrol Trooper Joann Inocencio, who assisted in the investigation and who further quizzed Valadez regarding his apparent failure to make a safe lane change on the interstate.

“Valadez admitted in the roadside interview that he had brought the drugs from home,” Deputy Mirelez said. “He then volunteered information indicating that he had concealed a quantity of narcotics in his bedroom.

“At that point, we elected to call the man’s mother again, to notify her that Valadez was going to jail for marijuana possession,” the deputy added. “We also informed her that her son had admitted to having narcotics at home. While she was still on the phone with us, the mother went to her son’s bedroom and found a backpack containing five bags of marijuana and a bag of pills. The suspect told us these were Xanax pills.”

Valadez was booked at the La Salle County Jail and released on bond after 19 hours. The suspect’s mother was instructed by officers to surrender the narcotics from her home to the Webb County Sheriff’s Office without further delay.  
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and the US Drug Enforcement Administration co-hosted a National Pill Take-Back Day event on Saturday, October 22, with a booth in front of the county courthouse at Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla.

All members of the public were able to bring unwanted or expired medication – prescription or over-the-counter – for proper disposal. Medication included pills, capsules, suppositories, powders, herbs, ointments, lotions, syrups and liquids. Officers hosting the booth allowed the public to drop off unwanted medication anonymously; no one is asked to show prescriptions for any items being dropped at the collection station on Pill Take-Back Day and no ID is required.

The event is aimed at removing potentially hazardous materials from homes and preventing dangerous drugs from being mistaken for other medication and accidentally ingested, and from reaching the hands of children. Last year, collection stations in the Laredo area gathered close to 2,000 lbs. of discarded medication. Pill Take-Back Day is planned semi-annually for La Salle County.    

Pill Take-Back event encourages proper disposal of meds