McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The former county attorney for Starr County was indicted on public corruption charges, federal authorities announced.
Victor Canales, 49, was arrested Friday on Travel Act violations charges, federal program theft and Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The nine count indictment accuses Canales of using his authority to collect fines and fees and to “choose whether or not to prosecute certain offenses,” from Jan. 1, 2005 to April 20, 2022, the release stated.
Canales, who is from Rio Grande City, is also accused of having received more than $10,000 in federal benefits from 2018 until 2021.
“During that time, Canales allegedly embezzled property worth at least $5,000 in each of those years,” authorities stated.
The indictment continues by alleging that he “obstructed and affected commerce by extortion” by obtaining property not due to him on four separate occasions. Canales is said to have used a facility in interstate commerce to carry unlawful activity between 2017 and 2021, the indictment stated.
Canales faces up to five years in prison on the Travel Acts violation charge, 10 years on each of the four counts of program theft, and 20 years on each count of Hobbs Act extortion, the release stated.
The Border Corruption Task Force investigation was conducted by the FBI in partnership with the Texas Office of the Attorney General, with assistance from the DEA, Texas DPS and HSI.
Canales has an initial appearance hearing scheduled for Monday, April 10.