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Authorities arrest human smuggler impersonating a DA employee

CrossroadsToday.com | Victoria Television Group
CrossroadsToday.com | Victoria Television Group
 2022-12-08

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VICTORIA, Texas – On Wednesday, Dec. 7, at approximately 12:20 p.m., the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop in the 9000 block of Highway 59 South in the Raisin Community of unincorporated Victoria County.

Authorities identified the vehicle, which displayed the emblem of the Starr County District Attorney’s Office, as a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse. They performed a license plate check of the vehicle, which showed that it was registered to the 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Magali Rosa, 40, identified herself as an employee of the Starr County District Attorney’s Office. The Victoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations conducted a subsequent investigation. The investigation revealed that Ms. Rosa was not an employee of the Starr County District Attorney and that she was using the vehicle for human smuggling.

Authorities identified Juan Charles, 40, as one of the five additional occupants inside the vehicle. The other four were identified as undocumented persons.

Through investigation, the VCSO discovered the vehicle was assigned to Bernice Garza, a Crime Victim Coordinator, who was an employee of the 229th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Officials arrested Rosa on Engaging in Conspiracy/Human Smuggling and Charles for Engaging in Conspiracy/Human Smuggling and Unlawful Carry of a Weapon. They then transported Rosa and Charles to Corpus Christi, where they were transferred to federal custody. The four undocumented persons were released to Border Patrol for processing.

Prior to the traffic stop, the 229th Judicial District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez had initiated an investigation concerning Bernice Garza’s criminal misuse of the District Attorney’s vehicle. The investigation continued to unfold along with the investigation in Victoria County.

On Wednesday, District Attorney Ramirez announced that Bernice Garza had been arrested and terminated from his office.

Sheriff Justin Marr releases message to the public

Sheriff Justin Marr commended Victoria County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Homeland Security Investigations and the Victoria Police Department for their assistance with this incident. He also condemned this example of a violation of public trust and reminds the public that no one is above the law.

The Victoria County Sheriff’s Office provided the above information and photos.

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