MCALLEN, Texas – A local border television station recently attacked Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra with an article headlined, “Auditor: Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office blocked time sheet tampering investigation.” Now the Sheriff is fighting back and the information he provided indicates that the station, KGBT, did indeed omit vital information in their presentation to their viewers or readers.
In a recent article by the small Texas border station, Executive producer David Hendricks slams the Texas border-area sheriff, making it seem like he and his staff blocked an investigation by the county auditor into time sheet altering. KGBT is the same TV station that recently tried to downplay a prison riot in a criminal alien requirement facility that left the prison in ruins; the station called it “a demonstration.”
In the damning piece, Hendricks relies on a report by Hidalgo County Auditor Ray Eufracio regarding a payroll audit of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and allegations that a former sheriff named Lupe Trevino, who is now in prison, abused the system in order to have deputies campaign for him on county time.
While Hendricks headline implies that Guerra blocked the investigation, in his closing Eufracio writes “We would like to express our appreciation to the Sheriff’s Office staff for the assistance provided to us during the audit.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Sheriff Eddie Guerra and Chief Deputy Mario Lopez spoke about the audit and the way the news outlet seemingly misrepresented the facts.
“This is a government record,” Guerra said holding an Hidalgo County time sheet. “The deputy signs it and his supervisor signs it if they approve it. This means that if an employee knowingly tampers with it they are in fact tampering with a government record and if the supervisor signs it then you have two employees who tampered records. That is a criminal case, not an administrative case.”
When an investigation is conducted, state employees are read their Garrity warning if the investigation is administrative in nature and their Miranda rights if the investigation is criminal in nature, Guerra said.
In an administrative investigation, the employee doesn’t have the right to remain silent and the refusal to answer a question can result in termination, on the other hand any information that is gathered cannot be used in a criminal investigation, Guerra said.
In regards to a criminal investigation, the information gathered there can be used in an administrative investigation but on the other hand the employee has the right to remain silent.
During the audit, the sheriff’s office tried to meet Eufracio’s requests and tried to provide the documentation he required. They did not allow him to conduct interviews with staff because it would interfere with ongoing criminal investigations since the auditor was conducting an administrative investigation and he is not able to conduct a criminal one. “He is not a peace officer,” said Chief Deputy Mario Lopez.
Before making a move regarding the audit, Guerra said he consulted with Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez about the legalities of the interviews that Eufracio wanted and how to deal with it.
According to Eufracio’s audit, the allegations come from the testimony of former sheriff’s deputies some of which are in jail on drug trafficking or bribery charges.
Guerra confirmed to Breitbart Texas that upon taking office he in fact turned over that information to the Texas Rangers so they could conduct their own investigation.