Democrat State Rep Denies Involvement in Scheme to Bribe Border Judge

terry canales
Terry Canales via Facebook

MCALLEN, Texas — Texas State Representative Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) is denying any wrongdoing after the former warden of a private prison on the Texas border was charged for his alleged role in bribing a convicted Texas border judge in order to get a bond lowered so that a Mexican drug smuggler could flee. Canales was the attorney who represented the smuggler in court, and could still face charges.

Elberto Esiquiel Bravo was the warden at the East Hidalgo Detention Center, a private prison owned by LCS Corrections. Bravo is currently out on bond until his trial on the charge of being an accessory to a felony.

The charge stems from the 2010 arrest of Luis Martinez Gallegos, a Mexican drug trafficker who was in the country illegally. Martinez had been caught by Texas border sheriff deputies with 89 kilograms of cocaine, according to court records obtained by Breitbart Texas.  Bravo, another woman, and a local attorney worked to get Martinez’s bond lowered so that federal authorities could deport him before the case went federal, the criminal complaint shows.

Justice of the Peace Melo Ochoa set Martinez’s bond at $2.5 million but after taking a bribe lowered the bond to $50,000, allowing Martinez to be turned over to federal agents who deported him to Mexico. As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, Ochoa pleaded guilty last month to bribery charges and received a probation sentence in exchange for his cooperation.

While the criminal complaint does not name the attorney, Canales told The Monitor newspaper that he had been Martinez’s attorney. He admitted that he had gotten Martinez a bond reduction, but insisted it was a basic procedure and he had done nothing wrong.

Canales has not been criminally charged in the case. Canales’ attorney John Ball said the representative was innocent of any wrongdoing and was ready to go to trial if charges were brought against him.

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