Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

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Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro covers immigration and federal courts for The Monitor. He can be reached at lzazueta@themonitor.com or (956) 683-4452.

Alamo murder suspect’s trial set for January

A court set a January trial date for an Alamo man accused of murder. During what was expected to be the final pre-trial hearing in Peter Isiah Uvalle’s murder case before it was set to begin for trial Oct. 7, Uvalle’s attorneys, Savannah Gonzalez and Lucia Regalado, argued they needed more time as they were still going over several pieces of evidence and video recordings that they had recently received from the state. “...This Saturday, on the eve of trial, we get a co-defendant’s statement, that has over an hour and 15 minutes, that we never otherwise received. That’s huge, judge,” Gonzalez said. “This is potentially two dealers, two buyers, one of the buyers, who we never ever received his statement. All of a sudden we get a statement that’s completely different from the written summary that was in the report, for the first time ever, we get that on Saturday. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Felon pleads guilty to possessing pistol

A Brownsville man pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, records show. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez accepted the plea to one count of illegally being in possession of a firearm from Alberto De Leon during a hearing Monday morning, records show. De Leon, 26, was arrested in May in connection with a federal investigation into the purchase of multiple firearms in what was believed to be a straw-purchase scheme. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

CBP: Prep work for wall construction has commenced

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said preparation for wall construction in rural Donna has begun. During a CBP-led media tour in rural Donna, near Military Highway and the Lacoma Refuge Friday morning, contractors could be seen working to prepare the preliminary elements for a border barrier. CBP officials said the contractors began preparation of the enforcement zone this week, which includes preparing the ground and installing elements of technology that will be used for detection. The zone that’s being worked on is two projects that span approximately 13 miles between the Donna and Progreso ports of entry. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Edinburg convict and ex-Border Patrol agent accused of threatening fed

A recently convicted former U.S. Border Patrol agent faces another serious federal charge after allegedly threatening a federal agent following a court hearing. According to an Oct. 7 filing, Daniel Polanco allegedly threatened a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent at the conclusion of a scheduled court hearing related to Polanco’s July conviction in a drug trafficking case. Polanco, of Edinburg, was in Houston on Oct. 3 for a hearing related to his recent conviction in a drug trafficking case in July.A recently convicted former U.S. Border Patrol agent faces another serious federal charge after allegedly threatening a federal agent following a court hearing. According to an Oct. 7 filing, Daniel Polanco allegedly threatened a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent at the conclusion of a scheduled court hearing related to Polanco’s July conviction in a drug trafficking case. Polanco, of Edinburg, was in Houston on Oct. 3 for a hearing related to his recent conviction in a drug trafficking case in July. Read more at The Monitor.com.

Convicted felon pleads guilty to possessing pistol

A Brownsville man pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, records show. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez accepted the plea to one count of illegally being in possession of a firearm from Alberto De Leon during a hearing Monday morning, records show. De Leon, 26, was arrested in May in connection with a federal investigation into the purchase of multiple firearms in what was believed to be a straw-purchase scheme. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Suspect in Trooper Sanchez’s shooting pleads not guilty

EDINBURG — Victor Alejandro Godinez pleaded not guilty to three charges during a formal arraignment hearing Monday.  Before the hearing got underway, 389th state District Court Judge Letty Lopez appointed Edinburg-based criminal defense attorney O. Rene Flores to represent Godinez. The appointment was made to avoid delaying the hearing once again after Godinez appeared without an attorney for a second straight week.  During a Sept. 30 arraignment hearing, the court questioned Godinez’s ability to retain an attorney, after Godinez told the court he would speak with his mother about retaining one, and the case was reset for Monday morning.  Godinez, after briefly conferring with Flores, pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder and two counts of attempted capital murder.  Read more at the monitor.com.

Edinburg EDC employee charged with felony theft

An employee with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation faces felony theft charges, court records show. The corporation’s workforce development and special events coordinator, Michael Rene Balderas, faces one felony count of theft of more than $30,000 but less than $150,000, according to records. According to the indictment, handed down Aug. 22, Balderas is accused of engaging in a scheme to “appropriate” more than $30,000 but less than $150,000, from a representative of the Association of Texas Professional Educators. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

San Juan man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter charge faces revocation

EDINBURG — A man who was convicted of accidentally shooting and killing his friend could be sent to prison after allegedly violating the terms of his probation, court records show. Isaiah Victor Castillo was before state District Judge Roberto “Bobby” Flores on Thursday for a scheduled motion to revoke hearing after he was arrested in connection with a robbery earlier this year in August — violating a condition of his deferred conviction. Flores, who granted a motion to have the hearing reset for two weeks from Thursday, advised Castillo if the Court grants the state’s motion to revoke his probation, he could face between two and six years in prison. Read more on the monitor.com.

Hearings reset for 3 attempted murder suspects

Hearings for three suspects accused of attempted capital murder were reset for next month. Jose Rudicindo Anaya III, 22, of Edinburg, Francisco Gilberto Garcia Mayo, 25, of San Juan, and Yamil Garza Villarreal, 32, of McAllen, had their respective hearings reset for Nov. 18 after the court agreed to reset their hearings. Villarreal and Mayo, who are currently in federal custody, did not appear as a result, and the court agreed to reset Anaya’s hearing as well, court staff confirmed Wednesday. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Alton man pleads not guilty in fatal smuggling crash

On what would have been Cesar Martinez Galarza’s 76th birthday, the man accused of causing his death appeared in court. Fernando Miranda Rodriguez, standing next to his attorney Abiel Flores, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to charges related to a May 6 crash in La Joya that left Martinez dead and another man seriously injured. Rodriguez, 19, faces several charges, including one count of murder, one count of accident involving death, one count of evading arrest/detention causing death, and evading arrest with serious bodily injury, and three counts of smuggling of persons, records show. The state contends that just before 2 p.m. on May 6, in La Joya, Rodriguez, who was allegedly attempting to transport three men suspected of being in the country illegally, tried to flee from a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Rodriguez’s 2007 Chevrolet Impala. Read the full story at themonitor.com.