Hidalgo County District Attorney's investigator fired after refusing to testify - The Monitor: News

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Hidalgo County District Attorney's investigator fired after refusing to testify

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Rene Guerra

Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 6:33 pm

McALLEN — Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra ordered the termination of investigator Charlie Vela on Thursday afternoon.

Vela, an investigator with the hot checks division of the District Attorney's Office, had been in federal court where he was called as a witness in the trial of former Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy Jorge Garza.

Moments before he was to testify Thursday, Vela went before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane and pleaded the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects an individual from self-incrimination.

Vela had been mentioned by convicted drug trafficker Fernando Guerra as having participated in a conspiracy to steal cash and to scare off angry drug dealers whose loads had been ripped off. Fernando Guerra and Rene Guerra are not related.

“As a peace office,r I can’t have one of my investigators plead the Fifth Amendment in federal court without it having it bring a dark cloud over the integrity of my department,” Rene Guerra said Thursday afternoon, moments after terminating Vela.

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