EDINBURG, TEXAS — A former Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy faces felony allegations after he was fired for a purported romantic relationship with a confidential informant and niece of a state district court judge arrested on drug charges.
Blas Garcia, 38, faces charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, improper influence and tampering with a governmental record.
An Hidalgo County assistant district attorney told sheriff’s investigators he received a note from the 13-year veteran deputy where he “was pleading” and “almost begging” to drop marijuana possession charges against Lorena Partida, who had been arrested on state jail felony marijuana possession charges, a criminal complaint states.
Alejandro Benavides, the prosecutor assigned to the case, told investigators he found it “highly suspicious” that Garcia, who arrested Partida, would be asking for the District Attorney’s Office to drop the felony drug case, the complaint states.
Investigators later determined that Garcia was involved in a “social and romantic relationship” with Partida following her initial arrest on the drug charges, the complaint states.
Court records show the marijuana case against Partida was dismissed in the 389th state District Court on June 6.
Partida is the niece of 275th state District Judge Juan Partida, said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said prosecutors threw out Partida’s case due to insufficient evidence, after prosecutors learned deputies did not have a search warrant when they discovered the drugs inside a house.
Benavides, who now works in private practice, was reached Thursday afternoon and declined to comment.
“I would hate to jeopardize any pending cases the District Attorney’s Office may have,” he said.
Evidence tampering is a third-degree felony charge; the others are each class A misdemeanors.
Treviño said in a news release Thursday that Garcia broke several department rules, including interfering with criminal cases, abusing his position, fraternizing with jail inmates, dereliction of duty, improper use of informants and “unbecoming conduct.”
“I have little tolerance when deputies violate policy and no tolerance when they break the law,” Treviño said. “I hold narcotics officers to a much higher standard because of the trust we place in them.”
Garcia was formally charged after he surrendered to sheriff’s deputies Wednesday. He was fired from the Sheriff’s Office on June 25. He had worked there since 1999.
Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Homer Jasso formally charged Garcia and set bail at $45,000, the news release states. That amount later was reduced to a personal recognizance bond and Garcia was released from the Hidalgo County Jail.