TABC probe nets 2 more suspects in child sex assault case

Reports of abuse date back decades

EDINBURG — An ongoing investigation led by a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission special investigations unit has charged more suspects in connection with a case involving the sexual abuse of minor girls stemming back more than two decades.

Indictments for Genaro Fuentes and Mariano Israel Vera Vega were unsealed Monday after the two were served while behind bars at the Hidalgo County jail on sexual assault of a child charges, records show.

Fuentes, 36, is one of the owners of Rita’s Sports Bar in rural Mission, and the adult son of Rita Martinez Moreno, 61. Fuentes and Martinez hail from Mission.

Martinez was arrested last week and currently sits in jail in connection with a 31-count indictment accusing her of trafficking at least one woman, and sexually assaulting two minors between November 2000 through March 2018, the indictment filed July 25 read.

The pair owns Rita’s Sports Bar, which had its alcohol license expire in June 2018, according to public records.

Fuentes, like his mother, is accused of sexually assaulting a minor, Kenia Garcia, a pseudonym used in the indictment for the victim — once in November 1999 and again in December of the same year.

He faces one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and one count of sexual assault of a child.

“ … (Fuentes), on or about the 1st day of November 1999, did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the penetration of the sexual organ of Kenia Garcia, a pseudonym, a child who was then and there younger than 14 years of age..” the indictment read.

In addition to the arrests of the bar owners, TABC’s investigation implicated a state law enforcement officer.

On Wednesday, July 31, the same day Martinez and Fuentes were booked into the county jail, Juan Barrientos, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, surrendered to authorities and was booked on three counts of sexual assault of a child, court records show.

Barrientos, 48, was subsequently given a $60,000 bond and released.

Vera, 53, of Mission, faces one count of sexual assault of a child, related to an instance in May 2000, where he allegedly sexually assaulted the aforementioned minor, Kenia Garcia, the record shows.

Vera has been in custody since February of this year, when he was arrested on a warrant related to a sexual assault charge. He was denied bond and remains in a Hidalgo County jail.

A call to TABC officials on Monday went unreturned. Last week, a TABC official said that they would not be commenting on the arrests as they are part of an ongoing investigation.

Monday afternoon, Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, when asked about the additional arrests in the case, reiterated that he could not discuss the details of the investigation outside of the arrests of the four suspects and that he would withhold comment until the investigation had come to an end.

The investigation into Martinez’s sports bar and employees who were underage continues and could yield more arrests, authorities said.

If convicted of the aggravated sexual assault charges, a first-degree felony, Martinez and Fuentes face between five years and life in prison; and if convicted of the sexual assault of a child charges, Barrientos and Vera face between two and 20 years in prison.