One week after being fired from Pct. 2, former chief deputy enters race to be its next constable

Anthony Castillo appoints campaign treasurer

SAN ANTONIO – A week after being fired as chief deputy of the Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office, Anthony Castillo has filed the necessary paperwork to run for Precinct 2 constable in next year’s election.

Castillo, who was fired Oct. 9 in what was likely now-former Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela's final act in office, confirmed via telephone Friday that he intends to run.

"Our community needs transparency," said Castillo.

Castillo said his termination last week was part of the normal process that takes place for administration with no civil service protection when the elected official they work for leaves office.

Castillo, who has worked as a peace officer since August 2009, has been front and center in many of the scandals that plagued Barrientes Vela during her tumultuous 33-month tenure in office.

CLICK HERE: Chief deputy fired, captain on leave as Precinct 2 shake-up is underway

A Defenders investigation in August revealed that Barrientes Vela, Castillo and Precinct 2 Captain Marc Garcia charged the county for expensive hotel rooms, meals and a state open records training course but skipped the training itself.

While the trio attended the initial four-hour training session at the Crowne Plaza Hotel - Austin in September 2017, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) records show they did not show up the following day when a bulk of the training took place at the hotel during an eight-hour session.

Earlier this month, the Defenders uncovered records showing the trio did not show up for law enforcement training in Corpus Christi last October, even though Barrientes Vela used county funds to pay for it.

Garcia was demoted to the rank of deputy and immediately placed on leave last week by Barrientes Vela's replacement, Constable Leticia Vazquez, pending the outcome of an investigation.

Body-worn camera footage obtained by the Defenders earlier this year shows it was Castillo who believed he smelled marijuana coming from a Leon Valley car crash victim and her vehicle.

A sworn affidavit indicates the woman, Madison Huizar, later had her blood drawn without Precinct 2 deputies first obtaining a search warrant and was nearly subjected to a cavity search.

Records: Pct. 2 deputies proposed cavity search on teen, ordered warrantless blood draw

The smell was later determined to be from the airbags of Huizar's vehicle having been deployed, according to Leon Valley records.

Huizar was never criminally charged.

In late 2017, Castillo, at the time the rank of captain, ordered a deputy to respond to a crash in his personal vehicle.

Barrientes Vela said she gave Castillo a "verbal write-up" for the incident.

Castillo is the 10th candidate to file paperwork to run for Precinct 2 constable.

Barrientes Vela was removed from office last week after a district judge dismissed her lawsuit attempting to block county officials from appointing her replacement.

The first-term constable triggered the state's resign-to-run law in September when she announced to a KSAT 12 reporter her intentions to run for sheriff in 2020.

The announcement came as the FBI and Texas Rangers raided her Northwest Side offices.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.