Two former constables are facing several federal corruption charges for their alleged roles in leaking law enforcement information to a Houston area drug dealer in exchange for gift cards and cash.
Last week, federal authorities arrested 45-year-old Benito De La Cruz and 31-year-old Armando Gonzalez based on a 12-count indictment accusing the men of running license plate checks and criminal history searches for a Houston area drug dealer, court documents revealed.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the two men worked as deputies the Cameron County Precinct 5 Constable’s office at the time of the alleged conspiracy. Both moved on to other law enforcement work prior to their arrests.
Court documents say De La Cruz worked for the constable’s office from 2007 to 2017, while Gonzalez was there from 2010 to 2016. Federal court records did not mention current positions of employment.
In an ongoing case investigated by the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Rangers, and Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, authorities allege that in 2016, the two men interacted with a Houston area drug dealer who paid them with $50 gift cards and/or cash each time they ran a records check for him.
Authorities also allege the two men lied to FBI agents about running plates or backgrounds for the suspect. The men also claimed to not know about a hidden compartment in a vehicle under investigation. Authorities allege otherwise.
Both men are expected to go before a U.S. magistrate judge Friday. If convicted, the men face possible 20-year prison sentences. Court documents hint at other individuals under investigation at this time.