RIO GRANDE CITY
GOP expands effort for South Texas dominance to local races
In the weeks before the December filing deadline to run in the March primary election, Project Red Texas traveled South Texas to recruit candidates to run for county offices. The group ended up helping get 125 candidates on the ballot across 25 counties.
Rio Grande City police investigate homicide
Police are investigating after a man was killed in Rio Grande City on Wednesday night. Officers responded to a call reporting a homicide at a residence near the intersection of Old El Sauz Road and Sr. Corona Circle around 9 p.m. Wednesday. “Upon arrival officers discovered a male subject to be deceased,” a news release from the department stated. The man’s name has not yet been disclosed, and the case remains under investigation.myrgv.com
Prosecutors drop charges against Weslaco water plant defendant
“We intend to file a motion to dismiss charges against Mr. Danny Garcia, your honor,” said Marco A. Palmieri, a prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. Court records show the motion was formally filed shortly after the status conference ended; however, the two-page motion makes no mention of what led prosecutors to drop the charges against Garcia. I know his parents went to church right after (prosecutors) announced that they were gonna dismiss it,” Vega said. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against him. He died just days after the court denied an emergency request from prosecutors to memorialize his testimony via deposition.myrgv.com
Federal prosecutors to drop charges against Weslaco water plant defendant
“We intend to file a motion to dismiss charges against Mr. Danny Garcia, your honor,” said Marco A. Palmieri, a prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. Palmieri said the government would officially file its motion to dismiss the charges against Garcia by the end of the day Tuesday. The indictment alleged that Garcia used his attorney trust account, also known as an IOLTA account, to launder bribes from the alleged scheme while keeping some of the proceeds for himself. Since the superseding indictment was unsealed, one defendant — John Cuellar — has since reached a plea deal with prosecutors. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against him.myrgv.com
Advocate: Open records bill would have prevented RGC from exploiting loophole
An open government advocate said this week that if Texas legislators are one day successful in closing a loophole in the state’s public information act, municipalities such as Rio Grande City would no longer be able to work around certain requirements — such as responding to requests.myrgv.com
Rio Grande City taken to court over unfilled city manager post
For over a year, Rio Grande City has not hired a city manager, though its own city charter requires such an appointment and the commission voted to begin the hiring process in May. On Wednesday, the city was prompted to initiate the searchmyrgv.com
Border Patrol apprehends 37 in stash house, vehicle pursuit
EDINBURG — U.S. Border Patrol agents caught 37 migrants in a stash house and vehicle pursuit Thursday in north Rio Grande City. The Starr County Sheriff’s Office assisted Border Patrol in apprehending 33 migrants found inside a stash house Thursday afternoon. All were taken into Border Patrol custody. The driver of the Ford failed to yield and led agents on a vehicle pursuit. This fiscal year, Border Patrol agents have found over 400 migrant stash houses and apprehended 7,400 migrants as a result throughout the Rio Grande Valley, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.myrgv.com
Starr County man suspected in 2019 murder dies in prison
By BERENICE GARCIA and VALERIE GONZALEZA man who was suspected of killing a woman in Rio Grande City in 2019 has died in prison, according to the 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Starr County. Ismael Mares Jr., 44, died in custody at the Ramsey unit in Rosharon, Texas, according to Starr County District Attorney Gocha Ramirez. In December 2020, the Texas Rangers turned over the case to the Starr County DA’s office, Escobar told The Monitor. Mares and his older brother, Luis Mares, 47, are both suspected members of the Mexican Mafia. The Starr County Special Crimes Unit made the announcement on July 26 and corroborated Luis Mares’ allegations that a key piece of evidence in the case, a DNA match with Luis Mares, was disregarded 17 years ago.myrgv.com
Starr County part of a ‘binational effort’ to attract business to the region
Leaders from both sides of the border along Starr County met Friday to strategize and focus efforts that, they hope, will lead to a prosperous region. “A binational, regional concept” is how Joel Villarreal, Rio Grande City mayor, described the goal of the regional roundtable discussion that drew mayors and chamber of commerce representatives from Starr County, Roma, Rio Grande City, Miguel Aleman, Camargo and Diaz Ordaz. A video put together by the Rio Grande City EDC and played during the meeting highlighted a highway route that went from Monterrey toward Roma and veering into the U.S. through Rio Grande City. We really want to focus on that,” Jaime Escobar Jr., the Roma mayor said. So, if it’s not in my city, it could be with my neighbor,” Villarreal, the Rio Grande City mayor said.myrgv.com
Man accused of nearly running over DPS trooper during multi-city chase indicted
A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Manuel Morales on Aug. 10 and he is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday. DPS arrested Morales on Aug. 20, 2020, after troopers deployed a spike strip as he entered Rio Grande City, causing him to crash. “The vehicle continued to drive recklessly almost striking other vehicles on the expressway,” the affidavit states. DPS says the chase continued toward Mission where they allege Morales tried to strike a marked DPS unit from the rear. At the time of the incident, DPS said troopers determined several people inside Morales’ vehicle were in the country illegally.myrgv.com
Uvalde Memorial Hospital confirms first pediatric admission for COVID-19
The <a href="https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2021/07/23/how-worried-should-we-be-about-the-delta-variant-university-health-expert-has-answers-to-latest-faqs/" target="_blank">COVID-19 delta variant surge</a> continues to severely impact children across the state of Texas, including in Uvalde County.
CBP rescues immigrant who fell from cliff; 14 others found among boxes of onions
Border Patrol agents in Rio Grande City rescued an immigrant who fell from a cliff on Wednesday morning. The 21-year-old Honduran national was able to call 911 for help and told Rio Grande City Police that he’d fallen from the cliff and injured his leg. On Tuesday night, agents found more than a dozen immigrants hidden in a tractor-trailer rig at the Falfurrias checkpoint. According to a news release, a canine unit alerted agents to possible contraband inside a black Peterbilt 18-wheeler. When agents opened the trailer they discovered boxes of produce and then found several immigrants laying on top of boxes of onions.myrgv.com
Starr County suspected drug trafficker’s wife arrested
The wife of a Rio Grande City man accused of drug trafficking was arrested Friday and is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court Monday morning. Julisa Peña, 32, was arrested Friday and charged for her role in using up to $110,000 derived from drug trafficking. Peña took the stand last year during the detention hearing for her husband, Evaristo Sepulveda, after he was arrested on drug trafficking charges in January 2020. “The payments were generated from Evaristo Sepulveda’s involvement in illegal drug trafficking and the sale of illegal drugs,” the complaint read. Peña’s husband of 10 years, Evaristo Sepulveda, was arrested in January 2020 in relation to a smuggling event involving 320 kilograms of cocaine moved through Starr County the previous year.myrgv.com
Border patrol agents find largest migrant group yet this year
Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station agents found 736 migrants in three large groups in La Grulla this weekend, including one the agency is describing as its largest group yet this year. Border patrol agents first saw a large group of migrants “make landfall” near La Grulla Friday morning. On Saturday, Rio Grande City agents found an even larger group of migrants — 298 — walking north on a ranch road after illegally entering the country. “This has been the largest group of migrants encountered by RGV agents this fiscal year,” the news release said. Sunday afternoon, Border Patrol agents encountered yet another large group of migrants walking north on the same ranch road as the previous day.myrgv.com
Rattlers roll into postseason after capturing RGC’s first district title in last decade
“I was so hurt last year that they shut everything down at the start of district,” Ramirez said. The Rattlers have rebounded behind the strength of a talented corps of freshmen and sophomores that have boosted one of the Rio Grande Valley’s deepest lineups and powered the Rattlers to one of their best seasons and first district title in more than a decade. “A lot of girls have been practicing extra after practice and it’s been showing and helping us a lot. Among the squad’s three upperclassmen, Cortinas has provided Rio Grande City with veteran leadership for a young team in the midst of a season filled with unique obstacles. But Rio Grande City has also been able to rely on its pitching thanks to the performance of freshman ace Denzelle Saenz, who has proven RGC can win games in the circle, too.myrgv.com
Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline
As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)DALLAS – The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Texas fell again Sunday after dipping below 10,000 for the first time since December on Saturday. State health officials reported 5,278 new, confirmed cases of the virus Sunday, 1,499 probable cases and 167 more fatalities. Texas has reported 38,643 COVID-19 deaths and more than 2.16 million cases since the pandemic began. Over the past week, more than 16% of COVID-19 tests in Texas have come back positive, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
McAllen police asking for public’s help in finding missing 75-year-old man
Wayne Douglas Weise, 75, was last seen at 5 a.m., Thursday, on FM 490 in Rio Grande City. He was driving a copper 2009 Ford Explorer with a license plate that reads “GZF3286,” according to police. The McAllen Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing senior citizen. He was driving a copper 2009 Ford Explorer with a license plate that reads “GZF3286,” according to police. Weise is described as having gray hair, green eyes, and is usually seen wearing his hair in a ponytail.
Over 9,800 hospitalized in Texas with COVID-19, more vaccines on way
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)AUSTIN, Texas – The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Texas continues to increase, as more doses of the vaccine are expected this week for front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Sunday that 9,856 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the state. This month Texas surpassed 9,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. Johns Hopkins is reporting over 25,700 COVID-19 related deaths in Texas, the second highest in the country overall. State health officials said Friday that Texas will receive 620,000 more doses of COVID-19 vaccines over the next week.
Harlandale High shuts down football for 3 weeks; Veterans Memorial, Southside games canceled
SAN ANTONIO – Harlandale High School has shutdown both of its varsity and junior varsity football teams for the next three weeks following a positive coronavirus test, Harlandale Independent School District officials announced Thursday. Additionally, football practices at Harlandale High School cannot resume until Nov. 20. Junior varsity games will be allowed to continue on Nov. 26, and varsity games will resume on Nov. 27, according to the district’s announcement. Veterans Memorial has also been forced to cancel its next two games. The first game was scheduled for Friday night against Buda Johnson in Buda, and the other was scheduled for next Thursday against Dripping Springs.
Daily US virus deaths decline, but trend may reverse in fall
The U.S. has seen two distinct peaks in daily deaths. Then, over the summer, outbreaks in Texas, California and Florida drove daily deaths to a second peak of 1,138 on Aug. 1. That's down about 25% from two weeks ago but still not low enough to match the early July low of about 500 daily deaths, according to an Associated Press analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Two weeks later, the state reached its highest seven-day average in daily reported deaths. She noted that daily deaths are still rising in some metro areas, including Memphis, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose.
Officials: More than $700K worth of marijuana seized in two separate incidents
EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande City station agents said more than $700,000 worth of marijuana was seized in two separate incidents over the last two days. Officials received a report of multiple drug smugglers running north of the Rio Grande near Garceno on Wednesday night. After conducting a search of the vehicle, authorities said they found nearly 350 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $275,000. On Thursday morning, RGC agents in La Rosita reported several smugglers loading “bundles of marijuana” into a Chevrolet Suburban. After searching the vehicle, authorities said they found more than 580 pounds of marijuana, valued at $465,000.