Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Joe Rubio: Office Raid Edition

Fifteen years ago today, D.A. Joe Rubio's office was raided.  Thousands of files were seized by the FBI after charges of corruption within the office arose.
Rubio proclaimed his innocence, saying that he had no knowledge of illegal activity occurring within the D.A.'s office.  The people of Laredo believed him and he was re-elected to another term. 

Specific instances of case fixing eventually came to light.  The "Pyramid of Power," a graphic used by prosecutors to highlight those involved in the extortion scheme, cited Joe Rubio's father, Joe Rubio Sr.

The second witness was Ramon who testified that about a week after his arrest, Rubio Sr. came to his home at the 1800 block of Mercer and asked him for $1,000 to "fix his case."

People with different charges against them - from DUIs to drug charges - had their cases dismissed in return for money.

Other names that stand out from all those accused are Ramon Villafranca and Jesse Castaneda.  The Rubio name, however, is the one people will remember the most.  Behind the success and popularity the D.A. experienced, there will always be the cloud of doubt cast by those around him. 

This was a pretty big fucking deal, to quote Joe Biden.  I would go as far to say that this was bigger than the whole J.C. Martin Jr. scandal. 

Justice was eventually served.  The Rubio saga left a dark mark on Laredo politics.  It might not be widely discussed nowadays, even though people have vivid recollections of the key players.  But it should be a reminder to us that the nagging little issue of ethics is nothing to take lightly in Laredo.  Local corruption has done much to alter our psyche.  It must be remembered and dealt with heartily as we move ahead.   

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