FOUR ARRESTED FOR ORGANIZED CRIME IN EDWARDS COUNTY TEXAS
On August 29, 2019, arrest warrants were executed concerning the misappropriation of funds at The City of Rocksprings Texas. After 6 months of investigation, Warrants were issued for Ex-Mayor Pauline Gonzales, Her husband Ramiro Gonzales Jr., Ramona Bienek, ex-City of Rocksprings Secretary, Investment Officer, and Daniel Garcia Public Works Director.
A complaint was filed with The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office on February 19, 2019 concerning a severe shortage of funds at the City. On that day the Sheriff’s Office began to investigate. Ex-Mayor, Pauline Gonzales resigned On Monday, February 11, 2019 and the resignation was effective on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. Sheriff Pamela Elliott assigned Darrell Volkmann to investigate the case but Sheriff Elliott stayed in touch throughout the whole investigation.
After interviewing several people and looking over transactions and invoices that left a “paper trail.” It was found that issues need to be addressed.
Several Search Warrants were executed at various residences and businesses and the findings supported the case for more investigation. The Search Warrants were executed on May 21, 2019.
Pauline Gonzales is charged with Official Oppression, a Class A Misdemeanor, Credit Card Abuse, a State Jail Felony, and Engaging in Organized Crime, a Felony of the Third Degree. Pauline Gonzales surrendered to The Edwards County Detention Center after discovering that Authorities were looking for her. Gonzales was released after posting Bonds totaling $41,000.00
Ramiro Gonzales Jr. is charged with Credit Card Abuse and Engaging in Organized Crime. Ramiro Gonzales Jr. surrendered to The Edwards County Detention Center after discovering that Authorities were looking for him. Ramiro Gonzales was released after posting Bonds totaling $35,000.00.
Romana Bienek is charged with Credit Card Abuse, Engaging in Organized Crime and Criminal Attempt to Commit Tampering with Government Documents, a Class A Misdemeanor. Bienek was arrested in San Angelo Texas and is free on Bonds totaling $41,000.00.
Daniel Garcia is charged with Credit Card Abuse, Engaging in Organized Crime and Theft (possession of stolen property) 2500.00 to 30,000.00 a State Jail Felony. Garcia was arrested in Rocksprings Texas and was booked into The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office. Garcia was released after posting Bonds totaling $51,000.00. The theft 2500.00-30000.00 was discovered incident to a search warrant that was executed at Garcia’s residence on May 21, 2019.
More arrest are anticipated including possibly more cases on two of the aforementioned individuals. We have to investigate further with a Forensic Accountant to determine where every penny went. We know how they did it but don’t know what happened to the money once it was done. We are sure that there is a paper trail that will determine where it went.
When Lawanda Goller took over as Mayor in January 2009, the City was in a Financial Crises then and there was an investigation then by a previous administration at The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office, but there were never any arrest made. Goller got the City back on its feet during her administration. Goller operated significantly in the black for all four years and increased the City’s capital. Presently she is acting Mayor and struggling to fix the problem.
Credit card abuse means: A person commits an offense if: with intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, he presents or uses a credit card or debit card with knowledge that the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to him and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder.
Engaging in Organized Crime means: A person commits an offense if, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, the person commits or conspires to commit one or more of the following:
Sec. 32.31. CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD ABUSE An offense under this section is a state jail felony
Theft means: (a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property. Appropriation of property is unlawful if: it is without the owner's effective consent; the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; a state jail felony if: the value of the property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000
Criminal Attempt to Tamper with Government Documents means: A person commits an offense if he: knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record; makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record; intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record. Criminal attempt is a Class A Misdemeanor.
Official Oppression means:
Sec. 39.03. OFFICIAL OPPRESSION. (a) A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he:
(1) intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;
(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful
In early 2016, Then Mayor Pauline Gonzales was indicted on several charges including Abuse of Office, nepotism and Abuse of Official Capacity.
Then Mayor Pauline Gonzales was offered a plea bargain and plead guilty to one misdemeanor, bargaining out the Felonies and was advised to step down as Mayor and was given 6 months deferred adjudication on the Misdemeanor.
Pauline Gonzales stepped down as Mayor in 2016 but ran again in the City Election and won.
Ironically, there were many complaints of “stuffing the ballot boxes” and illegally voting. Romana Bienek was put in charge of the voting. Republican Chairperson, Kathy Walker filed a complaint with The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office stating that there were many discrepancies with the voting. The Investigation uncovered 18 criminal violations naming 8 individuals.
A recusal letter was written to Sheriff Pamela Elliott from Investigator Darrell Volkmann asking if Sheriff Elliott would write a recusal letter to County Attorney Allen Ray Moody (Misdemeanor jurisdiction) and Tonya Ahlschwede, District Attorney. Sheriff Elliott in turn, wrote the letter on June 12, 2017.
The case sat idle in the District Attorney’s office until Joseph Stinson, Criminal Investigations Division of The Texas Attorney General’s Office picked up the case from the District Attorney’s Office and took the case to The Texas Attorney General’s Office and handed it to the unit that handles the investigations for Voting Fraud. For some reason it still has not been addressed.
The case has been completed, ready for indictment since June 12, 2017. seat again in Rocksprings and failing to prosecute the No case has been ever presented to The Grand Jury.
After the smoke has cleared, The City of Rocksprings Texas is in a financial crises. The new City Leaders have inherited the task of rebuilding the Finances at City Hall. Not long ago there was a Certificate of deposit that was over $100,000 dollars and the City is presently operating at a minus -$31,000. After reviewing the minutes of City meetings it was determined that cashing the Certificate of Deposit was addressed, but was never approved by the City Council, at least it was never stated in the minutes that City Council approved it. The money is now gone.
These four people have played an important role in the “breaking the City of Rocksprings Texas, but there may be three more. The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office is still digging for more information.
There has been many attempts to get The County Judge, Souli Shanklin and Sheriff Pamela Elliott ousted from Office due to the fact that they are standing against the corruption and fighting it on a daily basis. Ex- Mayor Pauline Gonzales even asked The Attorney General’s Office Execute a Search Warrant at the Economic Development Committee Office claiming Judge Souli Shanklin was misappropriating finds. The City of Rocksprings handles that, not Judge Shanklin.
Then there was an investigation of Sheriff Elliott by the Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers would not go forward with the case because it was found to be bogus, once again trying to remove The Sheriff and County Judge for fighting corruption.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
There are many rumors around town about the financial crises at City Hall. Rest assured that your Elected Leaders are “pinching pennies” to get the City back on its feet. I, Darrell Volkmann Investigator at Edwards County Sheriff’s Office would like to inform you that no one is at Liberty to furnish us information unless a Formal Open Records Request is presented to the City.
I will tell you that any information that was collected was discovered by the Sheriff’s Office and no one in the City of Rocksprings is considered an Informant. (People that are currently working for the City do not have the knowledge of wrong doings). Furthermore, any threats to anyone, whether they know anything about the crises or not will be punished to the fullest extent of the Law.
In addition, several arrest are forthcoming. We at the Sheriff’s Office are planning to present this case to The Federal Bureau of Investigation. Your patience will be greatly appreciated.
TWO ADULT ROCKSPRINGS STUDENTS ARRESTED
Two adult students turn themselves in after arrest warrants were issued for their arrest. Leandro Gonzales (17) AND Saul Franco (17) were involved in an altercation with Law Enforcement Officers on May 21, 2019 on RSISD School property after an incident at City Hall. Gonzales was charged with Felony Assault, and Felony Obstruction, both a third degree felony that is punishable between 2-10 years confinement in TDC and/or a 10,000.00 fine each.
Franco was charged with Interference of Public Duties, a class B misdemeanor Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a 2,000.fine.
Gonzales posted bonds totaling 30,000.00 and was released. Franco posted a 3,000.00 and was also released.
THIS WEEKS INMATES AT THE EDWARDS COUNTY JAIL
Joe Michael Enriquez
Capias profine $500.00
Driving While License Invalid W/ previous Conviction
Motion to Revoke Probation
Motion to Revoke Probation Real County Hold
Burglary of a Habitation Real County Hold
Burglary of a Habitation Real County Hold
FIVE INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED ON VARIOUS CHARGES
On January 1, 2019, Alejandro Torres (32) was arrested for Assault Family with a previous conviction, a 3rd degree felony
On January 4, 2019 Raul Saucedo (57) was arrested for Possession of Marijuana <2 Oz, a Class B misdemeanor
On January 6, 2019, Kyle Ramirez (20) was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance 1>4g grams, (Methamphetamines) a 3rd degree felony and possession of Marijuana <2oz, a Class B Misdemeanor. On the same day, Michael Scott Short (37) was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance 1>4 grams (Methamphetamines), a 3rd degree felony and Driving while License Invalid, a Class B Misdemeanor. Also on this date, Simon Estrada (54) was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance 1>4 Grams (Methamphetamines) a 3rd Degree Felony.
12.22. CLASS B MISDEMEANOR. An individual adjudged guilty of a Class B misdemeanor shall be punished by:
(1) a fine not to exceed $2,000;
(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
(3) both such fine and confinement.
Sec. 12.34. THIRD DEGREE FELONY PUNISHMENT. (a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years. May be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Sec. 12.32. FIRST DEGREE FELONY PUNISHMENT. (a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years.
(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Isaac Jimenez () from Del Rio, Texas and migrated to Rocksprings in 2017 has been arrested by Edwards County Sheriff’s Deputies for his “5th Felony Violation” since he moved here from Del Rio.
On November 30, 2018 at approximately 8:53 in the evening, a 911 call to the Edwards County Dispatcher was received, requesting assistance from a Deputy for a “Fight in Progress” in the 800 Block of N. Cedar Street. As Deputies approached the location, a vehicle sped off from the area southbound, which matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle. A Deputy activated the Patrol Units Emergency Lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle but the driver refused and continued speeding through the city streets of Rocksprings. After a brief pursuit, the vehicle came to a stop in the driveway of the apartments located in the 200 block N. Cedar Street and Issac Jimenez exited the vehicle as the driver. Isaac Jimenez was arrested for Felony Evading Detention with a Motor Vehicle.
While Deputies were handling this incident, Crystal Castro (25) and another female from Rocksprings, Texas approached and began yelling and screaming at the Deputies about the traffic stop with Isaac Jimenez and told the Deputies at the scene that “they needed to arrest the ******* ******** and stop ******* with my brother in law”. Crystal Castro was then placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct -Language and was transported to the Edwards County Detention Center where she is being held on the Disorderly Charge plus 5 outstanding Class C Warrants for various violations she had failed to pay in the amount of $2,028.70 to the Justice of the Peace Office in Edwards County.
Isaac Jimenez was transported to the Edwards County Detention Center and was booked for Felony Evading Detention – Motor Vehicle, which is a State Jail Felony but due to Isaac’s extensive “past violations of State of Texas Laws”, a previous conviction of the offense now enhances the charge of to a 3RD Degree Felony. “A case for violation of State of Texas Penal Code 12.42 will be submitted to the 452nd District Attorney for Penalties for Repeat and Habitual Felony Offenders stated Sheriff Pamela Elliott. Isaac Jimenez numerous and continual violations of the Law, is dangerous for our community. It appears that all the past plea deals arranged by the District Attorney and Isaac Jimenez have failed to cease his criminal behavior.”
TWO INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
On November 22, 2018 Bernardo Pena Jr (39) from Stafford Texas was arrested for DWI 2nd Offense on Us Hwy 377 N. Pena was transported to Edwards County Detention Center and booked for the offense after the breathalyzer showed that he was twice the legal limit while operating a motor vehicle. Pena was released after posting a $6000.00 bond.
On November 23, 2018 Alonzo Trevino (19) from Rocksprings Texas was arrested for possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia and possession of an unlawful weapon (Brass Knuckles).
Trevino was transported to The Edwards County Detention Facility and was booked for the offenses. Trevino was released from custody after posting a $6000.00 Bond.
ROCKSPRINGS WOMAN TURNS HERSELF IN
On 10/10/2018 Jessica Espinosa (30) from Rocksprings turned herself in to The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office for outstanding warrants from Kerr County. Espinosa had a warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance 4-200 grams, a second degree felony and possession of Marijuana Less than two grams, a Class B Misdemeanor. Espinosa is free after posting a $11,000 bond.
On September 10, 2018, The Honorable District Judge Robert Hoffmann sentenced 4 individuals and accepted a plea on the 5th person.
Armando Franco (70), of Rocksprings Texas, plead guilty to Indecency with a Child and was sentenced to 7 years’ probation-deferred. With a $2000.00 fine. This was pursuant to a plea bargain. The original charges were 3 counts of sexual assault of a child (three different children) but they were dismissed as part of the plea agreement
Bobby Green (30) of Laredo Texas, plead guilty to Felony Evading Detention in a Vehicle and received 2 years confinement in The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (prison). Sentencing according to The Texas Code of Criminal Procedures shall be no less than two years but no more than 20 years plus up to a $10,000 fine. Green was on bond prior to the sentencing and was arrested in open court and was transported to The Edwards County Detention Facility and held pending transport to prison.
Fortino Rodriguez Jr (52) Of Houston Texas was ordered to pay restitution of $1000.00 for a Theft of a Firearm as part of a plea agreement. The theft case was dismissed as part of this agreement.
Fernando Franco (25) of Rocksprings Texas received 365 days in State Jail for Forgery of a financial instrument. State Jail is part of the Texas Criminal Justice system. Franco is being held in the Edwards County Detention facility waiting transport to prison. Franco received probation on this originally but failed to follow probation guidelines.
Vensilado Arispe Jr. (52) of Rocksprings Texas plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in part of a plea agreement. Arispe was ordered to 365 days in The Edwards County Detention Facility.
On August 27, 2018 an Arrest Warrant was issued for Clifford Madison Hunn (30) from Rocksprings Texas for Theft of Cattle less than 150,000.00. The incident occurred on July 15, 2018 when Hunn wrote the Victim a check for longhorn cattle for $7000.00 and there were no funds to cover the check. Several attempts were made by the Victim and The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office to remedy the situation but was unsuccessful.
On August 28, 2018, Hunn was arrested at a local eating establishment and was booked into The Edwards County Jail and was released after posting a $10,000.00 bond.
Another arrest involved Nicholas Gonzales Flores (28) from Rocksprings Texas was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty group 2, 4-200 grams. The warrant was issued from Kerr County. His bond was set at 15,000.00 and he remains in the Edwards County Jail in lieu of posting bond.