Berenice Garcia

Berenice Garcia covers Western Hidalgo County and Starr County for The Monitor. She can be reached at or (956) 683-4432.

La Joya approves ordinance regulating political signs

Ahead of the November city elections, the La Joya city commissioners approved an ordinance regulating political signs. The new regulations are meant to “alleviate traffic control and maintain an undisruptive election environment at city hall,” according to the ordinance which was approved during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. Addressing the commissioners, City Administrator Jacqueline Bazan referred to the provision in the Texas Election Code which prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling location. Read the full story at

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

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

RGC board spars over attorney fees

Rio Grande City school board members erupted in argument during a meeting Tuesday over payments to their current attorney. The school board was set to consider terminating Baltazar Salazar, a Houston-based attorney, from his post as the school board attorney. The motion failed as only board Trustee Daria Babineaux voted in favor of firing him. However, the vote came after much arguing between some of the board members, Salazar and Superintendent Vilma Garza. Read the full story at

Day 1 of murder trial reveals graphic details of crime scene

Three-year-old Julian Garcia was still alive when a Starr County sheriff’s deputy discovered him in the aftermath of a shooting in 2016, his father’s body protectively slouched over him, as the boy’s intestines protruded out his abdomen. The graphic details were revealed during the first day of testimony in the trial of Jesus Angel Rebollar, the man facing capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of Julian and his father, 41-year-old Hector Garcia. The older Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene on the corner of Woods Brothers Road and La Sagunada Road in Rio Grande City on Nov. 6, 2016, while his son was later pronounced dead at Starr County Memorial Hospital later that day. Read the full story at

Mission attorney arrested on theft charges

A Mission-based attorney surrendered himself to authorities in Rio Grande City on Tuesday morning on allegations that he defrauded clients. Florencio Lopez is facing four counts of theft, three of which are state jail felonies, with the fourth count being a misdemeanor charge, according to Brenda Lee, law enforcement liaison for the Starr County Attorney’s Office. His arrest stems from an investigation into a notary public, Juana Maria Rodriguez, who was arrested in January for allegedly providing fraudulent immigration services, including notary services, despite her notary license expiring in August 2017, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website. Read the full story at

Rio Grande Regional offering to take back opioids

McALLEN — The opioid crisis plaguing the nation has, thus far, passed over the Rio Grande Valley, and medical and city officials here are...

Roma council begins talks with police force

The first round of talks between the Roma city council and the city’s police officers were held Tuesday evening as part of an investigation into the city manager and the police chief. The council spent about three and a half hours in closed session during Tuesday’s special meeting of the city council, calling in four police officers, one by one, to discuss complaints lodged against Police Chief Jose H. Garcia and City Manager Crisanto Salinas in letter sent in July. In the letter, dated July 15, several officers detailed their grievances which largely dealt with lack of resources within their department that Garcia and Salinas allegedly failed to address. Read the full story at

Employee of RGC attorney faces tampering charges

An employee of a Rio Grande City-based law firm was arrested last week on charges of tampering with evidence and governmental records. Edwin Duran, an...

Former RGC mayor to lead La Joya housing authority

LA JOYA — The La Joya Housing Authority board appointed a new permanent executive director Wednesday, selecting former Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal...