BROWNSVILLE — Charges have been dismissed against another former Cameron County employee charged in a state bribery investigation called “Operation Dirty Deeds.”
The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office on Friday dismissed the case against Jose Mireles, who served as a lieutenant with the Cameron County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office, court records show.
Mireles was arrested in January with County Tax Assessor-Collector Tony Yzaguirre Jr., tax investigator Pedro Garza Jr. and dealer/notary supervisor Omar Sanchez-Paz in “Operation Dirty Deeds,” an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The group had been accused of taking bribes and other charges.
The charges against Garza also have been dismissed.
Mervyn Mosbacker, Mireles’ attorney, said he believes his client was charged in order to try to force him to say something about someone else, although Mireles was not involved in any criminal activity.
“When I first got Mr. Mireles as a client, he insisted on his innocence, not that he wasn’t guilty of any particular thing but that he had never done anything wrong in his job duties,” Mosbacker said. “As I looked at the evidence they gave me, they had absolutely no evidence pointing to his guilt — nothing; it’s really incredible.”
In a prepared statement, Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said, “The charges on Mireles were dropped last Friday. We intend to try the main defendant, Cameron County Tax Assessor Collector, first. After we prosecute Mr. Yzaguirre we will then prosecute any of his employees that may have been involved. It would be beneficial to Yzaguirre and his defense team to try his employees first. That is why we are doing this.”
Yzaguirre was charged with four counts of bribery, a second-degree felony; engaging in organized criminal activity, a first-degree felony; and official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor.
Mireles was charged with bribery, engaging in organized criminal activity and official oppression.
Garza was charged with bribery, engaging in organized criminal activity and official oppression.
Sanchez-Paz was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor.
Mosbacker said authorities had no evidence on the charges filed against his client.
“He’s been tarred in this community for the past eight months, without a job, that’s the result of the DA’s office, the DPS and the Texas Rangers, whoever was involved in this investigation, basically trying to push this innocent man into cooperating,” Mosbacker said.
Mosbacker believes Mireles will try to get his job back with the tax office.
“Hopefully the DA’s office and DPS won’t block him in his attempts to continue working as a peace officer,” the attorney said.
Charges against Garza, who no longer works with the county, also were dismissed. Charges are pending against Yzaguirre, Sanchez-Paz and Claudia Elisa Sanchez, who was later arrested in connection with “Operation Dirty Deeds,” and charged with one count of tampering with government records.
Yzaguirre has been ordered to stay away from the tax office until the conclusion of his trial.