Around 5:30 pm on Friday afternoon, federal agents were once again found in the halls of Hidalgo County courthouse as they raided the offices of County Court-at-Law No.6. Hidalgo County bailiff Oscar De La Cruz was arrested prior to the FBI raids on Friday. Three days later he was charged with “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.” On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker read the federal complaint alleging De La Cruz provided false documents in coordination for the transportation of cocaine.

Judge Albert Garcia was in disbelief as he discovered his bailiff of two years, Oscar De La Cruz, was under federal custody when they provided a search warrant for Judge Garcia’s office. In an interview with The Monitor, Judge Garcia expressed concern over the negative spotlight his courtroom would receive from this raid.

This is the second time in three months the FBI has raided the offices at the courthouse. Back in early February, late Friday afternoon, 93rd District Court offices were raided which followed by the arrest, indictment, and suspension of Judge Rudy Deglado. Judge Garcia stated, “I need to, of course, find out what’s going on, but more than likely yes, he’s out of a job because of the bad light that he would put the court system in.”

The federal complaint details that in October 2017 a “cooperating source 1 stated on multiple occasions he contacted and paid an individual [De La Cruz] to obtain false documents reflecting the seizure of controlled substances by law enforcement in 2016 and 2017.” In doing so, they were able to seal more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. This same “cooperating source” stated a Hidalgo County Courthouse bailiff [De La Cruz] generated the false documents so, “that they could be provided to sources of supply to make it appear that law enforcement had seized controlled substances contained in the documentation.”

U.S. Judge Hacker took a serious approach towards De La Cruz on Monday, setting a detention hearing for Tuesday, in which bond would either be granted or not. De La Cruz’s attorney Santos Maldonado is confident about today’s bond hearing “since he has no criminal history, has many ties in this community, and is not a flight risk.”

De La Cruz has remained in federal custody since his initial arrest on Friday.

Miriam Cepeda

Miriam Cepeda is the Rio Grande Valley Bureau Chief for Texas Scorecard. A second-generation Mexican American, she is both fluent in English and Spanish and has been influential in grassroots organizing and conservative engagement within Hispanic communities. If you don’t find her “Trumping”, you can find her saving animals, running her dog, hiking the Andes, or volunteering with the U.S. National Park Service.

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