Over 20 officials arrested or convicted in 2018 in the Rio Grande Valley

(Source: KGBT Photo)

Throughout the year, CBS 4 Valley reported on the arrests or convictions of 21 officers or deputies throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Of the 21 arrests, six were charged with DWI or public intoxication.

Other charges include human smuggling, trafficking and transporting drugs such as cocaine and running an illegal game room.

"It seems like it's a reoccurring situation in the Valley, seems like you hear it on the news every other day or so," said Bruce Vannoy, a Valley native who is concerned about the number of law enforcement personnel arrested.

Among the 21 arrested is Palm Valley Chief of Police Alvaro Garcia for tampering with government records.

Hidalgo Chief of Police Rudy Espinoza was also arrested for domestic violence just last week. According to court records, Espinoza attacked his common law wife.

"It seems like all along, they've been catching one after another, after another, after another," said John Underwood, another concerned RGV resident.

Former Brownsville Fire Chief Carlos Elizondo was arrested twice this year and indicted on 11 felony counts of computer security breach.

Four other officers were arrested for theft including, Robert Sanchez, a former Hidalgo Co. Sheriff Deputy, Jerry Xagoraris, a Cameron County Precinct 4 Deputy, Sgt. Rodney Guerra with Alamo Police Department and Jesus Ramirez, a former Alamo Police Officer.

But it wasn't just law enforcement personnel arrested, 13 Valley elected officials and or city employees were also put behind bars this year.

Palmview Mayor-Elect Rick Villareal was arrested in October for drunk driving. Edcouch Mayor, Virginio Gonzalez, Jr., was arrested from drunk driving in 2017, but formally charged with a DWI in 2018.

"I would say it's normal, lots of corruption here within the county," said Vannoy.

This month, a visiting State District Judge Roberto Garza from Cameron County, was arrested in Palmview for drunk driving and unlawfully carrying a weapon.

Something Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez previously told CBS 4 is not okay.

"I want to make sure everybody understands the law applies to everybody the same way. It doesn't matter what position you hold, the law is the same for everybody and we're here to enforce the law," said Rodriguez.

Former State Representative Rene Oliveira was also arrested for drinking and driving while still in office.

Former State County Judge Rudy Delgado is charged with multiple federal bribery charges, but still won the 13th Court of Appeals Place Four race last month while awaiting his trial. Delgado will go to trial February 2019.

"They know the law. They took an oath so they should be held to a higher standard, so yeah it is shocking to me," said Leo Sanchez, a concerned citizen.

For a complete list of the arrests and convictions of public officials during 2018, click here.

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