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Monday, March 8, 2021

DA fires investigator who invokes 5th Amendment

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A South Texas district attorney has fired an investigator who invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when called to testify in a corruption trial.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said he had fired investigator Charlie Vela after Vela declined to answer questions in the trial of former sheriff’s deputy Jorge Garza. Garza is accused of drug trafficking conspiracy and is on trial in federal court in McAllen.

Vela does not face any charges in the case but was called as a defense witness after prosecutors rested their case on Thursday. Garza is the only defendant of nine former law enforcement officers implicated in a scheme to steal and resell drugs.

Garza is also accused of having been paid to guard stash houses where the stolen drugs were stored.



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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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