Court filings in RGC school trustee case reveal possible witnesses

Recent court filings in the petition to remove Daniel J. Garcia from the Rio Grande City school board provide new details about the case, including who might be called to testify.

Gocha Ramirez, Garcia’s attorney, filed subpoenas for six individuals that, if signed by the judge, would compel them to appear in court to potentially be called upon as witnesses.

Ramirez subpoenaed:

  • Robert Caples, commander of the Starr County Special Crimes Unit
  • Omar Escobar, the 229th District Attorney
  • Arcadio Salinas Jr., assistant superintendent of human resources at the Rio Grande City school district
  • Alonzo Ibanez, an employee at the school district
  • Jose Luis Garcia Sr., a businessman and the father of Jose Luis Garcia, Jr., a suspect in the 2017 murder of Chayse Olivarez.
  • Ricardo Lopez, the man who filed the petition to remove Garcia from the school board.

Lopez was deposed July 9, but he appeared to provide little information, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for nearly every question, according to a partial transcript of the deposition that was attached to a new motion Garcia’s attorney filed.

Ramirez’s motion would compel Lopez to answer the questions.

Lopez, a former employee with the school district, was arrested in 2017 for allegedly attempting to bribe a judge who, at the time, was presiding over the case against Jose Luis Garcia Jr. The case has since been transferred to Hidalgo County.

In the petition, Lopez claims that Garcia orchestrated the attempted bribe and that Garcia abused his position on the school board to secure a place on the defense team for the murder case.

Garcia has not been arrested or charged on those allegations.

However, he is facing federal bribery charges. Federal authorities arrested him earlier this year in connection to an investigation into an alleged bribery scheme involving the Weslaco water treatment facilities.

Garcia pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are also cited in Lopez’s petition to remove Garcia.

A hearing on the petition is currently scheduled for Friday, however, attorneys for Garcia filed a motion requesting the hearing be delayed for 30 days. A decision on that motion was still pending Wednesday afternoon.