New charges filed against reserve officer linked to burglary using squad car

Rio Hondo Police Chief Weldon Matlock shows the piece of equipment from a patrol vehicle that was left behind by his former reserve officer who TMs now facing numerous criminal charges.

Squad car #101 was allegedly used by Ernesto Yanez to help commit a burglary outside the city limits.

"This is the camera mic," the chief said while holding the device in his hand. "It is for the audio of our camera system."

According to the chief, the remote was accidentally dropped by Yanez at the burglary victim's home.

Yanez is accused by the Cameron County Sheriff's Department of using his patrol vehicle to haul away stolen tools he and Manuel Manzanares stole together around 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

"It TMs a black eye for the law enforcement community," the chief said.

Chief Matlock said he never noticed any red flags.

"We have an officer out there that's supposed to be protecting and serving and he's out there committing a crime," he said. "It's just sad. It's unfortunate."

The 26-year-old, who's since resigned from his position at the Rio Hondo police department, has a glowing reference from his former employer.

The chief in Port Isabel calls Yanez a "professional" who's done a "great job."

His file also contains two citizen letters: one for extraordinary work on a case, the other for his participation in a parade.

"When you're dealing with such a small department like this one and you've worked so hard over the last three years to build up the public's trust, how do you recover from something like this?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked.

"It's pretty difficult," the chief responded.

He hopes by charging Yanez with two more crimes, in addition to the burglary charges he faces with the sheriff's department; it will show how his department doesn't tolerate misconduct.

"He was charged with abuse of official capacity and tampering with governmental records," the chief said.

Past cases at the police department will also be reviewed, although the chief believes this was an isolated incident.

Yanez was arrested in Houston and is expected to be extradited to Cameron County on Thursday, according to Sheriff Omar Lucio.

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