Hidalgo County commissioners to appoint interim Precinct 5 public officials
The Delta region in northeast Hidalgo County will soon have its own precinct again.
Positions were opened on Nov. 21, for a Precinct 5 interim constable and justice of the peace.
Jason Peña, a current Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District school board member, is one of several candidates who applied for the justice of peace position.
"If you go to Hargil and Monte Alto, there's no law enforcement," Peña said. "People out there are living like the wild, wild west."
Peña says before Precinct 5 was dissolved in 2011, the precinct’s offices appeared to be nonexistent and had no accountability.
Community leaders, school board members and council members from Edcouch, Elsa, La Villa and Monte Alto asked the commissioners court earlier this year to re-establish Precinct 5, in great part because they say more law enforcement presence is needed.
Precinct 5 constable candidate Danny Marichalar currently works as a constable deputy for Precinct 1. Marichalar says residents have been complaining about illegal trash dumping, robberies, speeding motorists and the illegal selling of drugs.
"Its hard to get to these areas because I'm constantly working over there, there's a lot of work in those areas,” Marichalar said.
Not only has crime been a nuisance for residents in the Delta, but so has filing certain civil cases. Current Elsa Municipal Judge Marisela Estimbo has also applied for the justice of the peace position.
"It was harder for our residents here in this precinct to have to travel to the Weslaco area to file their cases over there," Estimbo said. "Whether they had to pay a citation, whether they had to file an eviction, or any other type of civil case."
Other applicants for interim justice of the peace include Espiridion "Speedy" Jackson and Javier López. The other applicant for interim constable is César Gutiérrez.
Primary elections for the positions will be held in March.
Hidalgo County commissioners are expected to make their decision on who will be the interim constable and justice of the peace during commissioner's court next Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 9 a.m.