EDINBURG — An employee with the public defender’s office refused to submit to a blood alcohol level test and was found in possession of more than a gram of cocaine during a traffic stop last week, according to police reports.
Isidro Sepulveda III of Edinburg was booked into county jail just after midnight June 8 after a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper stopped him for speeding, records show.
Sepulveda’s status with the Hidalgo County Public Defender’s office remains unknown after the office’s director — Chief Public Defender Jaime E. Gonzalez — said he was unable to comment on matters related to personnel.
The county employee handbook outlines that it is the responsibility of the employee to report any drug and alcohol-related arrests or convictions to their department head or elected official.
“Failure to report such an offense may result in disciplinary action in accordance with all county personnel policies and applicable state law,” the handbook states.
Asked Monday if Sepulveda would face a suspension, District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said the decision to punish Sepulveda would be left up to Gonzalez.
The 24-year-old county employee is the son of Isidro Sepulveda Jr., the head of the Hidalgo County Indigent Defense Program.
Sepulveda was released after he posted an $8,000 bond the day of his arrest, jail records show.
Sepulveda’s trouble began last week after a DPS trooper stopped him for speeding at about 11:50 p.m. Wednesday near Schunior Road west of U.S. Highway 281 in Edinburg, according to the criminal complaint.
The trooper reported observing Sepulveda’s 2017 Chevrolet Colorado going 38 mph in a 30 mph zone and proceeded to pull him over.
During the encounter the trooper noticed Sepulveda had unsteady balance and was “heavy footed,” detected a moderate odor of alcohol from his breathe, blood shot, red, glassy eyes, mumbling and slow speech, the report states.
Sepulveda also failed multiple field sobriety tests, including the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the “horizontal gaze” test, the report shows.
During his encounter with Sepulveda, the trooper found in his possession a small clear bag.
“Upon a search of his person after his arrest, a small clear bag containing a white powdered substance believed to be cocaine was discovered on Sepulveda,” the report states.
Sepulveda was charged with driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor, and possession of a controlled substance, more than one gram, a state jail felony.
According to court records, this is Sepulveda’s first charge for driving while intoxicated.
In February another county employee, Jorge Luis Ortegon II, 28, an attorney in the district attorney’s office, resigned over an allegation he assaulted an octogenarian during a celebration at a local restaurant.
If convicted of the felony drug charge, Sepulveda could face up to two years in county jail and a fine of $10,000.