Mission resident arrested for barratry

The Texas Rangers on Tuesday arrested a paralegal who works for a Harlingen-based law firm which specializes in personal injury litigation stemming from auto accidents on a charge of barratry.

Authorities linked 49-year-old Mission resident Juan Salvador Tovar by learning he drove a red Mercedes to Alejandro Deluna Jr.’s mother’s house on Sept. 5 to try to provide legal services to Deluna, who had not contacted Tovar to seek those services, according to a probable cause affidavit for the man’s arrest.

Tovar works for the The Law Office of Robert Davis Jr., P.L.L.C., which is based in Harlingen, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Deluna told Rangers he had been in an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle on Aug. 30 or 31.

“The following day, Deluna stated he was sore and went to a local urgent care clinic to receive medical attention,” the affidavit states. “The following day on or about September 3, 2019, Deluna received unsolicited phone calls from an individual who was soliciting Deluna for professional employment as counsel, medical attention and therapy.”

Two days later, the investigator recorded a phone call between Deluna, Tovar and two co-conspirators who authorities haven’t identified as of Tuesday, according to the charging document.

“During the call, Deluna did not solicit employment, rather Deluna stated that he was involved in an accident and was returning a phone call,” the affidavit states. “During the call, co-conspirators specifically stated that he was involved in an accident and was returning a phone call.”

The co-conspirators connected the call to “JT,” or Tovar, who is a legal representative for the attorney that would handle the case, authorities say.

“Deluna asked how did the co-conspirator get Deluna’s phone number. The co-conspirator stated that Deluna’s information is referred to him,” the affidavit states. “The co-conspirator stated that JT would go meet with Deluna at Deluna’s residence to take care of the paperwork.”

Authorities say that Tovar then got on the phone and identified himself as working for a law firm which handles injury cases.

“It appeared that Tovar had been listening to the phone call because Tovar knew that Deluna had been struck by an ’18 wheeler’ from the back,” the affidavit states. “With this information, it appeared that the co-conspirators and Tovar were working together during the phone call.”

The Ranger said the investigation revealed three phone numbers used to contact Deluna.

“Later during the day, Tovar pressured Deluna to provide Deluna’s address so that Tovar could come by and sign papers,” the affidavit states. “Tovar arrived at Deluna’s parent’s residence and spoke with Deluna’s mother. During this time Tovar called Deluna’s phone numerous times.”

The investigator went to the mother’s house on Sept. 6 and identified Tovar as the person who arrived at her house the previous day, according to the charging document.

The mother also gave the Ranger Tovar’s business card, which was from The Law Office of Robert Davis Jr., P.L.L.C., authorities say.

The mother also told the investigator about the red Mercedes.

“I conducted investigative research and confirmed that Tovar has a red Mercedes passenger car registered in his name to his residence,” the affidavit states.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, Tovar remained in the Hidalgo County jail and his bond hadn’t yet been set.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the name of the law firm for which the suspect worked.