The woman known as “Guera La Trailera” was handed a 10-year prison sentence for her role in a human smuggling scheme, records show. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Brenda Yadira Gamez-Castaneda on Wednesday to a 120-month prison sentence in connection with harboring charges she was facing as part of a 12-count indictment involving herself, and two others. In addition, Gamez received a 24-month prison sentence for an illegal re-entry charge to run concurrently with the sentence, records show. Read the full story at themonitor.com
The 83rd Texas Citrus Fiesta is shaping up to be out of this world. The annual event, which is taking on the theme of “Space Odyssey Adventure” is set to kick off on Saturday with the Fun Fair, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m at the Leo Peña Placita Park in Mission. “We have live music entertainment, we have vendors, food vendors, craft vendors, information booths and so forth,” said Lisa Rivera, the executive director for Texas Citrus Fiesta. Read the full story at themonitor.com
In an effort to encourage healthier lifestyles in the Rio Grande Valley, AIM Media Texas, which owns The Monitor, will be hosting Por Vida Health & Food Fest. Featuring more than 40 vendors offering a variety of health-related services — food sampling, local gym information and health screenings — the free event is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Pharr Events Center, at 3000 N. Cage Blvd. in Pharr. DHR Health is the presenting sponsor of the event, and will have a variety of specialist on site throughout the day. Attendees will have the opportunity to have a variety of screenings done, including vision and cholesterol. Read the full story at themonitor.com
It’s a pearl of an idea. Wild oysters already are harvested in a strictly regulated fishery in Texas. But beginning as early as the end of this year, these prized shellfish raised on saltwater farms in the Laguna Madre and elsewhere along the coast could begin hitting seafood stores. Last year Texas became the final state on the Gulf of Mexico to legalize off-bottom oyster mariculture, a process which uses raised “beds” in shallow waters which oysters attach to, grow from, and eventually are plucked and processed. Nationally, the farmed oyster business generates about $175 million annually. In Texas, it could quickly become a multi-million-dollar industry, too. Read the full story at themonitor.com
A McAllen police officer accused of drawing his weapon after a collision last year has been arrested on multiple charges, including official oppression. According to a McAllen Police Department news release, Texas Rangers notified the agency Thursday about their arrest of officer Larry Tineo-Oliver on charges of official oppression, terroristic threat, false report and tampering or fabricating evidence. Read the full story at themonitor.com.
A witness told Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office investigators that the 17-year-old high school baseball player from PSJA Memorial sought a gun from an associate before allegedly shooting and killing 19-year-old Genaro Isaiah "Izzy" Castillo. The sheriff's office arrested Carlos Julian Contreras on Jan. 15 and charged him with the murder of Castillo, who was found 10 to 15 minutes after he died on a caliche road in the Donna Lakes area near a sugarcane field, according to authorities. After his arrest, Contreras admitted to picking up Castillo in his white Ford F150 and driving him to the area before someone he knew only as Jorge, shot Castillo several times with a black handgun, according to a probable cause affidavit. Read the full story at themonitor.com.
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, will host a pinning ceremony in Brownsville on Wednesday to honor Vietnam veterans. Wednesday’s ceremony is one of several throughout Texas Vela is holding as part of the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration program that recognizes Vietnam War veterans and their families for their honorable service and sacrifices to our nation. Read the full story at themonitor.com
For 12 years, organizers have displayed San Benito’s rich history in a cramped room packed with wonder. Tucked away in San Benito’s Community Center, city founder Col. Sam Robertson’s legacy has shared the 1,000-square-foot area with hometown legend Freddy Fender and master accordionist Narciso Martinez, the father of conjunto music billed as born in the city’s cantinas. Meanwhile, the three museums’ organizers pushed for a $1 million grant used to launch the project to build a museum to showcase the city’s history. Read the full story at themonitor.com
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. has announced the closing and temporary closing of Highway 4 and Boca Chica beach for SpaceX testing activities. On Jan. 23 and 24, a portion of Highway 4 near the entrance to Boca Chica Beach will be closed between 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. Boca Chica Beach will remain open during this road closure, Trevino said. SpaceX and law enforcement authorities will be coordinating to ensure that no individuals or vehicles are allowed access to these areas during these times of the day. Individuals who provide proof of residence will be allowed to proceed to their home during testing. The beach will remain open during this temporary road closure. In case of an emergency, the necessary medical and/or law enforcement personnel will be allowed to circumvent the road closure. Read the full story at themonitor.com
Coinciding with the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this coastal city is asking residents and businesses to show their love for the Island by adding extra unwanted bulky items and brush to their regular monthly pick-up service. The City of South Padre Island, in partnership with Republic Services, kicked off its annual “I Love SPI” campaign Jan. 20. During the campaign, residents and businesses are able to place brush and bulky items at the front of their property for collection. Read the full story at themonitor.com