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In a stunning announcement Thursday morning, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the Election Fraud Unit of his office had arrested the mayor of Edinburg and his wife for allegedly orchestrating an illegal voting scheme.

Mayor Richard Molina and his wife, Dalia, are accused of operating an organized illegal voting scheme in his 2017 mayoral election. Paxton’s Election Fraud Unit found evidence that Molina and his wife enticed numerous voters to change their addresses to locations they didn’t live at—including an apartment complex owned by Molina—for the express purpose of voting for him in the mayoral election.

According to Paxton, over the past year his Election Fraud Unit has led multiple, widespread, and thorough investigations into allegations and complaints of voter fraud that were formally filed with the Texas Secretary of State. The complaints were forwarded to the attorney general’s office where Paxton’s unit began the investigation. The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office has cooperated and assisted the Election Fraud Unit in those investigations.

“Voter fraud is an affront to democracy and places the decision-making authority of the Texas electorate in the hands of those who have no right to make those choices,” said Paxton. “Voter apathy is caused by rigged elections with guaranteed outcomes. My office will always do everything it can to protect the integrity of Texas elections and the rights of every legal voter to cast a ballot and have it counted accurately. No one is above the law.”

Paxton also expressed his appreciation for Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez’s commitment to election integrity on this case, as well as several other unrelated voter fraud cases that remain ongoing.

“My office is appreciative of the many witnesses who have come forward and cooperated with the investigation, explaining how they were lured by an ambitious candidate into participating in an illegal voting scheme to elect Richard Molina,” said Rodriguez. “We encourage any additional witnesses who were pressured to engage in fraudulent voting in Molina’s election to step forward and cooperate with authorities.”

“We’re prepared to present a full array of charges against Molina and his co-conspirators to the grand jury for a thorough evaluation of the evidence to ensure justice is served,” he added.

The arrest comes at a time where lawmakers have come under increased scrutiny to enact measures to prevent and combat voter fraud and promote election security and integrity.

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