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Bond set at $30,000 for San Juan cop charged with making false statement to feds

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos set bond at $30,000 — with just a signature required — for former San Juan police Officer Richard L. Castillo.

A judge set bond Wednesday for the former San Juan policeman charged with making a false statement to federal investigators.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos set bond at $30,000 — with just a signature required — for former San Juan police Officer Richard L. Castillo.

According to the criminal complaint against him:

On August 27, 2016, the San Juan Police Department received a 911 call regarding an accident at Moore Road and South Stewart Road in San Juan, Texas. Upon arrival, San Juan Police Officers and US Border Patrol Agents discovered what appeared to be a single vehicle accident. The vehicle was abandoned in an orchard. A search of the vehicle revealed what appeared to be narcotics. The bundles were secured in the rear of San Juan Officer Salvador HERNANDEZ's marked SJPD unit. Multiple Border patrol Agents along with Officer HERNANDEZ and SJPD Sergeant Rolando GARCIA conducted a search of the orchard for the abandoned vehicle's driver. After the search had commenced, SJPD Officer Richard CASTILLO arrived to assist. The driver was ultimately not located and the search was subsequently concluded. Thereafter, HERNANDEZ transported the bundles to the SJPD station where they were logged into evidence.
On December 1, 2016, Drug Enforcement Administration Agents, who were conducting an ongoing narcotics investigation, interviewed Officer CASTILLO regarding the events on August 27, 2016. During the interview, CASTILLO proceeded to make multiple false statements, including that he was not aware of who had maintained custody of the narcotics after the narcotics were seized at the location on Stewart Road on August 28, 2016, that he did not know who transported the narcotics from the location on Stewart Road to San Juan Police Department, and that he did not observe the bundles containing the narcotics prior to the bundles arriving at the San Juan Police Department station.
Subsequent to the interview on December 1, 2016, Agents obtained video footage, which showed that the statement previously made by CASTILLO were false. Specifically, the video showed that CASTILLO knew HERNANDEZ had custody of the bundles, was transporting the bundles, and that both CASTILLO and HERNANDEZ viewed the bundles prior to HERNANDEZ transporting them to the station. Agents also interviewed HERNANDEZ who provided statements that contradicted the statements made by CASTILLO.

On Wednesday, an FBI agent provided new details about the allegations against Castillo.

The FBI agent testified that after the drug bust, the Drug Enforcement Administration started collecting statements from San Juan police officers, attempting to verify the chain of custody for the drugs.

Castillo's statement didn't match video evidence, according to the FBI agent.

Castillo's attorney, Reynaldo Merino of McAllen, said Castillo actually turned over the video to FBI agents. Merino said Castillo didn't intentionally make false statements.

After hearing the testimony, the judge set a $30,000 signature bond. Castillo is scheduled for release sometime Wednesday afternoon.

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