Child porn suspect turns himself in at Roma port

After nearly six months on the run from law enforcement, a Roma man turned himself in Monday morning on charges related to child pornography. Apolonio Garcia IV, 20, turned himself in at the Roma Port of Entry around 11 a.m. Monday, after which he was turned over to the Starr County Special Crimes Unit, according to Brenda Lee, law enforcement liaison for the Starr County Attorney’s Office. Garcia is charged with two counts of possession or promotion of child pornography. Read more at The Monitor.com.

Rio Grande City school board terminates attorney

RIO GRANDE CITY — The school board here swiftly terminated its attorney Monday after being the focus of a raucous board meeting last week. In a 4 to 3 vote, Baltazar Salazar, who was hired for the job over the summer, was ousted as the school board’s attorney during a special board meeting held Monday afternoon. Salazar’s termination was previously taken up during a board meeting last week but only board trustee Daria Babineaux voted in favor of it following much arguing among members of the board, Salazar and Superintendent Vilma Garza. This time, trustee Leticia O. Lopez made the motion to terminate, which was seconded by board President Eleazar Velasquez.. Read more at The Monitor.com.

Mission, Peñitas trio indicted for July murder

A Hidalgo County grand jury has indicted two men and a woman on charges of capital murder for the July kidnapping and killing of a 23-year-old man. Alfredo Huerta, 20, of Mission, Julio Cesar Deleon, 25, of Peñitas, and Edna Rivera, 28, of Mission, are accused of orchestrating the July 24 killing of Fernando Garza Jr., who was found dead with a gunshot wound to his face in an orchard between Mile 11 and Mile 12 on Iowa Road. Probable cause affidavits detail how, after the killing, Huerta encountered the victim’s father, Fernando Garza Sr., and told the distraught father who was searching for his son that he, Fernando Garza Jr., and a man named Luis Domingo Dominguez had been kidnapped. Read more at The Monitor.com.

Man accused of attempted capital murder set for arraignment

A man accused of participating in what prosecutors described as a “drive by shooting” during an attempt to abduct smuggled persons is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning on a charge of attempted capital murder. Jose Mario Cardeñas, 29, is accused with six others on that charge and several others related to a May 31 shooting that left two men with gunshot wounds. At the time of the shooting, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the victims, Jesus Guadalupe Mares and David Davila, were sitting in a truck near the corner of Maya Drive and Minnesota Road in the Lopezville area when someone approached and began shooting at them. Read more at The Monitor.com.

Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy arrested for DWI

An off-duty Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy was arrested by DPS and charged with DWI over the weekend, according to information released Monday. According to Sgt. Maria Montalvo, deputy Jesse Dandlin was arrested by a DPS Trooper Saturday. Sandlin was promoted to the criminal investigations division of the sheriff’s office in 2017, according to a post on the office’s Facebook page. Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra issued a release on the arrest Monday afternoon, stating he was informed of the arrest Saturday and that Sandlin “has been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending an internal investigation as standard protocol.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Local family finalists in national contest for helping feed homeless

Emily Aguirre was looking for ways to feed homeless people when she was just 6 years old. Now 11, Emily remembers the questions she asked her father, Rick Aguirre, when she spotted someone living on the streets while they were driving around McAllen: “Where does he sleep? Where does he eat? Where is his mom, where is his dad?” It was cold and drizzling outside at the time, and she worried about how that person would stay warm. So, the father and daughter returned with tamales and a cup of coffee for the homeless man — a deed they have continued to do since that day in 2015 for countless others in the Rio Grande Valley. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Alamo Flea Market honors the dead in colorful altar

ALAMO— The Alamo flea market was as busy Sunday as it usually is, with shoppers strolling the aisles, Tejano bands blaring out music and people hawking everything from used tires to bananas. Although the market bustled with life, a small section at the heart of the pulga was formally devoted to death earlier this month. On October 6, the market opened a display commemorating Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, complete with an altar and skeletal catrinas. Historically prevalent in Southern and Central Mexico, the traditions of Día de los Muertos have steadily crept northward, aided by films like Coco and the James Bond movie Spectre. Traditionally, the holiday involves individuals gathering to commemorate and pray for deceased loved ones, bringing offerings of flowers and pastries to gravesites, and erecting altars at home or in public with gaudy skulls and depictions of La Catrina, a skeletal woman in her finest clothes. Most of these traditions are represented in the display at the Alamo Pulga. The altar is separated from the rest of the market by black tarping, skulls illuminated by electric candles, loaves of bread made of glazed clay, photographs of deceased loved ones, and scores and scores of marigolds. “Marigolds have very important symbolism, that’s why you see them a lot,” Manuel Ruben Cantu, the artist who built the display, said. Cantu said he built his first Día de los Muertos display at the market last year. “I had actually never made one before,” he said. “It was really popular last year, so the property owner decided to do it again. This year it’s twice as big.” Although Día de los Muertos is traditionally celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the display in Alamo will be open to the public through November 3. “The altar will be set for the rest of the month, so people will come in and leave their own photos of friends or loved ones,” Cantu said. Nancy Kim, the property owner who commissioned the altar, said she sees it as a way to showcase and preserve Mexican culture. “We decided to build the altar because the majority of the public who visit us are Hispanic and obviously we want to show them our traditions and how this Mexican tradition is so it won’t get lost,” she said in Spanish. “That is basically what inspired me to present this altar and show one of the most beautiful traditions in Mexico.” Kim said the altar is also a way to honor and commemorate deceased people who were important to the market. “In the Mexican culture, there are a lot of superstitions, where we don’t lose our contact with our loved ones once they pass away. Our beliefs as Mexicans is that on that specific day, we make a celebration in which we make an altar and have a party and they will supposedly come and celebrate with us,” she said. “We usually have some pictures on the main altar, the small ones are employees who have worked here and have passed away, and the person who is in the main picture is the founder of the Flea Market of Alamo.” On Sunday, a steady stream of visitors wandered in and out of the market, peering at the displays and taking photos with the decorations. Kim said the altar has been warmly received. “The people are very happy,” she said. “They like it a lot, and have enjoyed and appreciated the traditions and values of the altar.” Stephanie Leal visited the display Sunday with her cousin. She said she enjoyed the altar. “It was nice. It reminded me of Coco,” she said. “I’ve never (seen) anything like it.” While Leal has never taken part in the tradition, she said her mother has, laying flowers on the graves of deceased loved ones in Mexico. “It’s something different,” Leal’s cousin, Bobbie Leal, said. “I guess it just brings us closer to our culture. It’s something I’ve never gotten to experience before.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Bealls begins rebranding process as it becomes Gordmans

HARLINGEN — Don’t be fooled by the big “Closing Event” sales posters on your local Bealls department store. The retail chain is merely re-branding its...

RGC man pleads guilty in healthcare fraud case, agrees to pay restitution

A Rio Grande City man avoided a federal jury trial after he pleaded guilty last week and agreed to pay more than $385,000 in restitution for healthcare fraud, records show. Omar Cuate Canales pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and agreed to pay back $385,574.52 in restitution as part of a plea agreement with government prosecutors. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining counts against Canales, specifically eight counts of providing a false statement relating to healthcare matters and five counts of fraud with identification documents, records show. Canales was indicted last December on 14 counts of fraud in connection with his business, Bluebonnet DME, a Roma-based durable medical equipment business. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

SpaceX extends deadline, reappraises Boca Chica properties

BROWNSVILLE — SpaceX has extended its buyout offer deadline to Boca Chica Village homeowners and agreed to reappraise the properties after complaints that the original appraisals were too low. Last month, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company sent property owners a letter dated Sept. 12, offering them three times the value of their homes based on appraisals SpaceX had commissioned. The deadline for accepting the offer was two weeks from the date of the letter and the offer was non-negotiable. SpaceX said it wants to buy the properties due to a greater-than-anticipated disruption to residents and property owners as development of the company’s Mars rocket, Starship, gains steam. Read more at The Monitor.com