EDINBURG, Texas — Four individuals were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal voting practices during a local election in 2017. One of the individuals who is accused of voter fraud is also a convicted human smuggler.
The arrests began this week when a task force made up of investigators with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, Texas Rangers, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office arrested three individuals on charges of illegal voting and making false statements on voter registration applications. The first charge is listed as a second-degree felony in the Texas Election Code while the second is a class B misdemeanor. One day after the initial three arrests, authorities made a fourth and it remains unclear if more are coming.
Authorities claim that Crystal Lee Ponce voted in a November 2017 municipal election in Edinburg even though she is a convicted felon. A criminal complaint filed in the 398th State District Court revealed that Ponce was sentenced to a three-year probation term in August 2016 and would not have been able to vote in the local election. Investigators claim that prior to the election, she filed a change of address to reflect she was living in Edinburg. The application asked if she had any felony convictions to which she allegedly signed “no.”
A criminal complaint filed in the 398th State District Court revealed that San Juanita Aleman was arrested on the charge of illegal voting for allegedly participating in the November 2017 Edinburg municipal election despite reportedly living outside of the political jurisdiction.
A criminal complaint filed against Veronica Vela Saenz, also in the 398th State District Court, revealed that she was charged with one count of illegal voting. Authorities claimed she registered to vote in Edinburg and voted in the 2017 election when she was living in McAllen, Texas.
A criminal complaint filed in the same court revealed that Jose Antonio Vela was charged with one count of making a false statement on a voter registration application. Authorities claim that prior to the November 2017 election, Vela changed his voter registration information to show that he lived in Edinburg when according to authorities, he lives in Mission, Texas. The address that Vela listed belongs to a woman he has no connection with.
“Voter fraud is not acceptable in our elections,” said Hidalgo County DA Ricardo Rodriguez in a prepared statement. “It is crucial to protect the integrity of our elections, and we will continue to vigorously pursue all avenues of investigation.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at email@example.com.