The 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office today announced the arrest of the Starr County Tax Assessor and six other Starr County employees in connection with a multi-agency investigation into alleged tampering of government records, theft by a public servant, forgery, organized criminal activity and more. According to the investigation, it is estimated that more than $700,000 of county funds were stolen.
Throughout the course of the investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division (CID) was assisted by the Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, FBI Public Corruption Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations Falcon Dam, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Taskforce and United States Customs and Border Protection.
This case will be prosecuted by the 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Border Prosecution, with assistance from the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office.
Suspects arrested during the investigation include the following:
- Maria Del Carmen Pena – Starr County Tax Assessor
- Maria Crisanta Gonzalez – Deputy Director Starr County Tax Office
- Griselda Quezada – Deputy Clerk Starr County Tax Office
- Mary Ann Lopez – Deputy Clerk Starr County Tax Office
- Cynthia Rivas – Deputy Clerk Starr County Tax Office
- Norma Leticia Quezada –Deputy Clerk Starr County Vehicle Registration Office
- Mayra A. Garza – Deputy Clerk Starr County Vehicle Registration Office
- Jose Antonio Alvarez – Brother to Maria Del Carmen Pena
- Fernando Alvarez – Brother to Maria Del Carmen Pena
- Delicia Canales – Wife of Fernando Alvarez
- Oscar Garcia
- Jose “Tambo” Cruz
- Juan Roberto Garcia
- Oroldo Vasquez
- Arturo Lopez