MCALLEN, Texas — A former Mexican border mayor who remains on the run from the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to fight the seizure of the money he has in Bermuda and a home in the border city of Brownsville, Texas. As part of the documents filed in the case, prosecutors quote an exclusive story by Breitbart Texas.
DOJ fugitive Erick Silva Santos was the mayor of Matamoros from 2008 to 2010. In late 2014, federal prosecutors accused him of having taken multi-million dollar bribes and stolen campaign funds during his term as mayor and then having deposited some of that money into U.S. and Bermuda banks, as well as purchasing property in Texas.
According to U.S. prosecutors, as mayor of Matamoros, Silva awarded more than $721,428,000 in Mexican pesos in government contracts during his term in office. Out of those contracts, Silva is accused of taking between 10-20 percent of the money’s awarded. Prosecutors estimate the amount to be between $5,329,544 to $10,659,088 in U.S. dollars.
Prosecutors are moving to seize any money that is kept in an offshore account at the Bank of Butterfield & Son in Bermuda and a house in Brownsville, Texas.
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, Silva was named a fugitive by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2014 in connection with criminal money laundering charges. Soon after he was named a wanted fugitive, Silva held a press conference in the Gulf Cartel-controlled city of Matamoros, Mexico, where Breitbart Texas was the only U.S. news outlet in attendance. During that conference, Silva claimed he was the target of political attacks and that he had attorneys to deal with his problems in the U.S.
Since then, Silva and his common law wife, Maria Castaneda Torres, have had their attorney in Brownsville, Texas, Trey Martinez, file their responses in an effort to get their property back. Silva is fighting for the Bermuda account, while Castaneda is fighting for a house in Texas. Martinez is handling the civil case, while McAllen attorney Robert Joseph Izaguirre is handling the criminal case.
Prosecutors claim that Izaguirre had approached them about having a Skype conference with Silva in order to “resolve” the criminal case, however, they refused the offer demanding that Silva be in the U.S.
According to court fillings by Martinez, the allegations against Silva are based on alleged criminal activity in Mexico, but as per the attorney, authorities in that country claim that criminal activity did not occur.
As part of the procedures, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion called “fugitive disentitlement,” meaning that since he is a fugitive from justice, he should not be able to get his assets back. As part of their motion, prosecutors listed the story by Breitbart Texas as an exhibit on the case.
“Significantly, Silva was asked during the interview whether he planned on turning himself in to U.S. authorities and facing criminal charges; and rather than respond in the affirmative, Silva replied that his lawyers were looking into the case,” court documents revealed.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane granted the request, however Silva’s attorney has asked the judge to re-consider the move.