DA: I must protect the integrity of my department

Charlie Vela

Just yesterday, Hidalgo Conty District Attorney Rene Guerra fired DA investigator Charlie Vela and was called as a witness in the federal trial of Jorge Garza.

Vela plead the 5th amendment, that night Guerra fired Vela.

"He was told to tell the truth, the truth will set you free, Guerra said. He was told if he plead the 5th amendment, I will have to let you go."

Guerra admits the decision was not an easy one to make.

"He is dear to me but I have to cut my little finger off," Guerra said.

On the stand Fernando Guerra alleged Vela played a role in stealing money from drug traffickers.

"The investigators they debriefed him they did not charge him as far as I know he is innocent of any crime he is being accused of," Guerra said.

Guerra tells Action 4 News he is not conducting any investigation into the allegations brought against Vela.

He also said he does not suspect any other employees of any wrong doing related to the panama unit scandal.

"As far as I know they are doing a great job and there hasn TMt been any suspicion of their work, I better not," Guerra said.

Also brought up during the Garza trial was the relationship between Guerra and Sheriff Lupe Trevino.

Guerra tells Action 4 News they are distantly related through marriage but denies and form of nepotism because of the relation.

"Those people who want to tear us down are going to say I hired him because he is related to my wife but that's not true, Guerra said. I hired him because I thought he was a good peace officer coming from Austin."