Mario Garza, the man who had to go and ruin the perfect name-pairing of San Juanita Sanchez and San Juan, abruptly resigned from his post at the Hidalgo County Adult Probation department after 15 years on the job conveniently mere hours before the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s office opened a bribery and theft investigation into the department.
On Tuesday, Probation Officer Carlos De La Fuente of Edinburg (because of course he’s from Edinburg) surrendered himself over to the authorities and was officially charged with abuse of official capacity and bribery. According to the complaint (posted below) De La Fuente was initially accused of accepting $350 from a probationer in exchange to lower his total fees that were owed. After further investigation into other probationers assigned to De La Fuente, investigators believe that De La Fuente collected up to $6,330 in bribes. Due to the circumstances surrounding the case and according to the Texas Penal Code, De La Fuente most likely faces up to two years in jail as well as a $10,000 fine, standard punishment for a state-jail felony.
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According to reports, the investigation also including one other probation officer who was also fired. As of yet, the other probationary officer has not been named as Director of the Adult Probation department, Arnold Patrick, declined to release such information. “I can tell you they’ve both been here longer than I have and I’ve been here seven and a half years. We haven’t found cases that go back that far at that point, it’s all within the last year and a half, two years,” said Patrick.
Garza, for his part, denies any wrongdoing saying “I can guarantee you and I can guarantee the community that I have nothing to do with that type of behavior.” Garza also commented on the undeniably shady timing of the whole thing saying “the timing was just so, so wrong…I mean, the timing just messed everything up.”
Yeah, well no shit Mario.
The way he left doesn’t really make him look any better as according to KGBT/Valley Central, Garza LITERALLY just walked off the job on Friday and didn’t even plan on giving his supervisor a notice, claiming to have been “burnt out” and “over it.”
Well, Mario, good to show your constituents who placed you in office to lead their city only a month ago that once the going gets tough and you’re “over it,” you might just walk away and quit without a notice.
To add another wrinkle to this story, the Adult Probation department looked into Garza earlier this year as he and a probationer, Rubio Muniz, both ran under the same slate along with current City Commissioner Jesse Contreras. According to reports of their internal investigation, a woman who worked for the Muniz campaign approached Garza and the probation department for assistance with court fees. “Apparently what happened there was: She was working his campaign and she was talking to, wanting to — what do you call it? — I guess help, as far as fees…And we routed her. She needed to talk to the judge on that,” said Garza. When KGBT asked Muniz about the woman, he claimed he never heard of her.
What this all boils down to is a series of circumstantial occurrences that really hold no weight until tangible evidence is actually found. Is Mario Garza a dip-shit for bailing out on his job, his supervisors and co-workers after 15 years without a notice? Yes. Do I hope his employees at the City of San Juan do the same to Mario Garza and his administration? Yes. Is Mario Garza’s timing of his walk-out shady as shit? Yes. Is it possible that Mario Garza is potentially the other unknown employee who was “fired” by Patrick? Yes.
Most importantly: Is Mario Garza guilty of bribery or abuse of official capacity? No, however the investigation is still on-going.
For now, I urge San Juan residents to email him your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.