Federal judge grants bond for Progreso mayor, brother & father
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 23:31:46 GMT —
A federal judge has issued a bond for jailed Progreso Mayor Omar Vela, his school board president brother and their father.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos handed down an order late Thursday afternoon issuing $100,000 bonds for all three.
FBI agents arrested Vela, his brother Michael Vela and their father Jose Guadalupe Vela last Wednesday.
Accused in a pay to play bribery scheme involving school district and city contacts, the three have been jailed since last week.
Federal prosecutors filed to motion to keep them jailed due to fears they would retaliate politically and physically against witnesses in the case.
An FBI agent testified during a Wednesday morning bond hearing citing several examples of previous acts of retaliation.
Michael Vela said he is resigning from his post as Progreso ISD school board president while his father Jose Guadalupe Vela is resigning as school district TMs transportation and maintenance director.
Michael Vela TMs defense attorney Ric Salinas told Action 4 News that he resignation is not admission of guilt but rather a means to obtain a bond, stay with family and take more time to fight and clear his name.
Judge Ramos ordered that the three each wear GPS device and be under 24-hour lockdown but are allowed to travel to Houston for court hearings in their case.
The federal judge added that the three cannot contact witnesses in the case and that the three family members cannot talk to each other.
According to the judge TMs order, the three must surrender any passports and refrain from excessive use of alcohol with no drug use and no guns.