Deputy constable arrested over EEOC complaints against boss

Leonicio Moreno running against Pct. 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes in 2020

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County Precinct 2 deputy constable who is running to unseat the current constable was arrested and is facing a felony charge.

Leonicio Moreno was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon by his fellow deputies on suspicion of aggravated perjury - falsification of a government document.

A warrant for Moreno's arrest obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders Tuesday night states Moreno filed two false EEOC complaints earlier this year that have hindered the agency's law enforcement duties.

In handcuffs and being escorted by deputies, Moreno said his arrest was fueled by retaliation from Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes-Vela.

On Jan. 9, Moreno filed to run against Barrientes-Vela in the 2020 election, according to online records.

"I believe Michelle (Barrientes-Vela) thinks she's above the law. Just look what she's doing," Moreno said.

According to KSAT records, Moreno and Barrientes-Vela have been involved in a series of tumultuous events within the past two years.

The Defenders previously reported that Moreno had filed a lawsuit against Barrientes-Vela, which accused her of retaliating against him after he refused her advances while in a hot tub in Galveston in July 2017.

RELATED: Lawsuit accuses Precinct 2 constable of trying to caress deputy in hot tub during work trip

Moreno claimed Barrientes-Vela tried to touch and caress him and also referred to him as her husband while on the county work trip, according to the suit obtained by the Defenders.

The lawsuit is still pending.

In June 2018, the Defenders reported that Moreno and Deputy Chris De La Cerda were fired after a state investigation revealed they falsified their own training records and those of other members of the agency.

Moreno, an 18-year veteran of Precinct 2, logged 22 training hours during a single day last October, state records revealed.

RELATED: Constable's office supervisors fired after 'deceitful' handling of training records

Both deputies later won their jobs back after the county's Civil Service Commission voted to overturn their terminations.

Barrientes-Vela did not provide an interview and was not available for comment regarding the arrest of Moreno and what he is accused of doing.

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.