SAN ANTONIO - Less than a day after Michelle Barrientes Vela agreed to vacate her position as Bexar County Precinct 2 constable, a major shake-up has taken place within her former administration.
County officials confirmed Thursday that Chief Deputy Anthony Castillo was terminated by Barrientes Vela at 5 p.m. Wednesday, just minutes after she re-announced her intentions to run for Bexar County sheriff in 2020.
Barrientes Vela's replacement, Constable Leticia Vazquez, announced Thursday morning that Captain Marc Garcia had been demoted to the rank of deputy constable and immediately placed on leave, pending an investigation.
A Defenders investigation in August revealed that Barrientes Vela, Castillo and 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.
Last week, 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.
Castillo has worked as a peace officer since August 2009 and Garcia since September 2008, according to TCOLE records.
Barrientes Vela and Garcia remain under criminal investigation, multiple sources have said.
When asked if the county planned to seek payments from the trio for the skipped training, Bexar County auditor Leo Caldera said via email his office is working with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office to determine if any further action was appropriate.
Barrientes Vela, a first-term constable, resigned her seat after telling a KSAT 12 reporter on Sept. 23 that she would run for sheriff in 2020.
Because the announcement came with more than 13 months left in her current term, it triggered the state's resign-to-run law.
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.