A Texas border county employee is in jail after allegedly stealing more than $1.2 million in fajitas. The department being billed for the fajitas does not serve fajita meat to its incarcerated juveniles.
“If it wasn’t so serious, you’d think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing,” Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz told the Brownsville Herald.
Authorities became suspicious when a delivery driver arrived at the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department with an 800-pound load of fajitas. Gilberto Escamilla apparently took the wrong day off from his job at the department. The woman called out to receive the order was shocked because the juvenile detention center does not serve fajita meat as a meal option. The driver responded that he has been delivering fajitas to the office for years.
Authorities confronted Escamilla when he returned to work the following day. “He admits he had been stealing fajitas for nine years,” Saenz stated.
The county fired Escamilla on August 8. The following day, the district attorney’s office had him arrested on a state-jail felony charge alleging the theft of $2,500 to $30,000 in product value. A search of the man’s home revealed fajita packages in his refrigerator.
Further investigation revealed that Labatt Food Service invoiced the county for a total of $1,251,578 worth of fajitas over the nine-year period. County auditors confirmed the invoices and the DA’s office filed new charges of first-degree theft.
Authorities said Escamilla had customers he would deliver the fajitas to after he picked them up from the county office. “We’ve been able to uncover two of his purchasers, and they are cooperating with the investigation,” Saenz told the local newspaper.
According to an official statement provided to the Brownsville Herald:
“The Juvenile Justice Department is working closely with the Auditor’s Office to institute procedures, controls and safeguards to avoid a recurrence of this type of situation. The Department expects that wrongdoers will be punished and assures that procedures and protocols have been established,” Gomez said. “The Department will continue to strive to provide necessary and appropriate care, custody and protection of those juveniles in its custody as well as protection of public moneys (sic).”
Saenz also criticized the county auditor’s office stating, “Up and down the chain of authority, people were signing off on these things. It’s upsetting because the auditor gets a detailed invoice where it states the breakdown of what’s delivered, so they should’ve seen it.”
The auditor’s office did not respond to questions from the paper.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.
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