Updated: After indictment, Sullivan City police chief takes 'leave of absence'

Associated Press, CBS 4 (KGBT-TV), valleycentral.com
BYLINE: Dave Hendricks

Sullivan City, TX

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Sullivan City police Chief Miguel Martinez

4:35 p.m. Update: Sullivan City police Chief Miguel Martinez took a "leave of absence" Tuesday, hours after the Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office unsealed an indictment against him.

City Manager Judy Davila said Martinez would remain on the "leave of absence" - taking paid holiday or personal hours - until at least Thursday, when the Sullivan City Commission meets about the matter.

"We currently haven't named an interim," Davila said. "We'll probably do that Thursday."

Jailers booked Martinez at 11:53 a.m., according to Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office records. He left at 1:17 p.m. after posting a $7,500 cash/surety bond.

Mayor Rosendo "Cheno" Benavides said the City Commission will review what happened before making any decision.

"I would like to wait to see what they actually have on the chief," Benavides said.

Check back for updates.

1:08 p.m. Update: Jailers booked Sullivan City police Chief Miguel Martinez and a former policeman on public corruption charges Tuesday.

With indictments in-hand, 275th state District Judge Juan Partida held an initial appearance for Martinez and former Sullivan City police Officer Angel de la Mora on Tuesday morning.

An indictment charged Martinez with:

1. Theft by a public servant, a state jail felony
2. Abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor
3. Abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor

An indictment charged de la Mora with:

1. Theft by a public servant, a state jail felony
2. Possession of marijuana, a state jail felony
3. Abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor
4. Abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor

Partida set a $7,500 cash/surety bond on each felony count and a $2,500 personal recognizance bond on each misdemeanor count.

City Manager Judy Davila said Martinez remains the police chief -- and the city hasn't taken any action to suspend him. Conviction on any count would make Martinez ineligible to hold a peace officer license in Texas.

Original Story:

Sullivan City police Chief Miguel Martinez arrived at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Tuesday morning to face public corruption charges.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Martinez and former police Officer Angel de la Mora.

The indictment remains sealed and the charges against them weren't immediately available.

The Texas Rangers started investigating the Sullivan City Police Department case during May, when a police sergeant contacted them with a troubling tip: de la Mora had taken stray bits of marijuana from the evidence room.

Security cameras captured the incident, showing de la Mora squatting on the floor and stuffing a small amount of marijuana inside a bottle. Martinez watched de la Mora take the marijuana. Police Inv. Reynaldo Cortes stood nearby. Nobody stopped him.

The Texas Rangers raided the department on June 8, seizing the surveillance equipment. After interviewing everyone involved, they submitted the case to the Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office during late summer or early fall.

Timeline:

May 21, 2015 -- Security cameras catch Sullivan City police Officer Angel de la Mora taking marijuana from the evidence room. Neither police Chief Miguel Martinez, who watched de la Mora take the marijuana, nor police Inv. Reynaldo Cortes, who stood nearby, stops him.

de la Mora later claims Martinez gave him permission to take the marijuana.

Sgt. Daniel Duran later discovers the security recordings and shows them to the Texas Rangers.

June 8, 2015 -- The Texas Rangers raid the Sullivan City Police Department

June 12, 2015 -- Sullivan City suspends Chief Miguel Martinez for three days without pay for "unbecoming conduct."

June 25, 2015 -- Sullivan City suspends Sgt. Daniel Duran for three days without pay for improperly disseminating information and not following the chain of command.

July 2, 2015 -- Sullivan City fires Officer Angel de la Mora

July 2, 2015 -- Sullivan City suspends police Inv. Reynaldo Cortes for three days without pay for "unbecoming conduct."

Sept. 16, 2015 -- Sgt. Daniel Duran files a whistleblower lawsuit against Sullivan City, claiming the city retaliated against him for contacting the Texas Rangers

January 2016 -- After reviewing the evidence, a grand jury returns an indictment.




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Why a cop who seized tons of marijuana stole a handful — and how Sullivan City handled it
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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