Naxiely Lopez-Puente

Naxiely Lopez-Puente covers Hidalgo County and Edinburg for The Monitor. You can contact her at or (956) 683-4434.

Ex-Edinburg city manager disputes assault narrative

Edinburg's former city manager recently accused of assaulting his fiance faced a similar accusation about seven years ago while working for the city of Pharr, but said the case has since been expunged. The documents surrounding Juan Guerra’s first assault accusation involving his ex-wife, Lucy Castanon, and his former sister-in-law, Monica Castanon, should not exist anymore, his attorney Reynaldo Merino said Tuesday. “That’s the whole reason you do any expunction, is to purge (it)... so it’s never brought up again,” Merino said. The Monitor, however, obtained a copy of the case surrounding the Sept. 14, 2012, incident in which Guerra was listed as a suspect, but never arrested or charged with a crime. Read the full story at

Source: Romantic dispute between former employees led to Edinburg police chief’s suspension

HAMMER: Love, money and politics BY NAXIELY LOPEZ-PUENTE STAFF WRITER EDINBURG — A whirlwind romance that ended in a messy dispute between the former city manager and...

Source: Romantic dispute between former employees led to Edinburg police chief’s suspension

A whirlwind romance that ended in a messy dispute between the former city manager and one of his employees may have landed the police chief here in hot water. The relationship between former city manager Juan Guerra and his subordinate, former legislative affairs liaison Miriam Cepeda, was fraught with whispered rumors since its start in early 2019. Both had just started working for the city when news of their blossoming romance began to circle throughout city hall — mostly because employees believed it went against the city’s rules of conduct. As Cepeda’s supervisor, Guerra was prohibited from dating her.  Read the full story at

Edinburg Asst. Police chief stripped of his duties

An assistant police chief here was recently stripped of his title, but don’t call it a demotion, police chief Cesar Torres said Thursday. Former assistant chief Juan “Jay” Hernandez is back on patrol after Torres removed him from the assistant police chief post in late December. Read the full story at

Generous outpouring for ‘Spirit of Christmas’ families

The Rio Grande Valley came together to help 13 families in need as part of the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ series, a partnership between The Monitor and United Way of South Texas. Earlier this month, The Monitor featured the plight of 19 families chosen by the local chapter of United Way. And while their struggles ranged from the effects of fires, floods and illnesses, their needs were similar, with most lacking the most basic resources. Many of the families struggled with children in tow and needed a helping hand. Read the full story at

Fallout follows Edinburg axings

The city manager agreed to walk away with a $250,000 severance package; in fact, he proposed it to the council, new city council majority leader Gilbert Enriquez said Thursday. Former City Manager Juan Guerra was entitled to receive $500,000 if the council fired him before completing two years of employment, but instead, the new majority negotiated the lesser rate during their first meeting in power Wednesday. Read the full story at

Edinburg to mull city manager, secretary posts

Elections have consequences, and for some high-ranking city officials here, it could spell trouble as the power on the council shifts. Edinburg City Manager Juan Guerra, City Secretary Ludivina Leal, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation board appear to be first on the chopping block. That’s according to Wednesday’s council agenda, which marks the first meeting since Mayor Richard Molina lost his majority last week.  Those positions, which the current majority either hired or appointed, have been a point of contention for various reasons.  Read the full story at

Elijah Cummings remembered locally for his approach to immigration

Community activists, educators and social workers held a modest but intimate memorial at Cine El Rey on Monday night to pay tribute to the late politician and social justice advocate, Elijah Cummings. Although Cummings — a Maryland Democrat who died Thursday at age 68 — had seemingly very little ties to South Texas, he was remembered in McAllen for his stance on immigration. The chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee blasted the Trump administration for its policies on immigration, including zero tolerance, which separated many immigrant children from their parents after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Read the full story at

Local officials stress state constitutional amendment would fund much-needed flood control efforts

HAMMER: The case for Prop 8 BY NAXIELY LOPEZ-PUENTE STAFF WRITER EDINBURG — Elected officials here are asking residents to vote in favor of Proposition 8, a...

Sen. Cornyn gets first-hand look at RGV’s flood control efforts

Sen. John Cornyn spent the first leg of his Rio Grande Valley trip on Monday touring regional flood control projects that are currently under construction but still need funding to complete. Dozens of elected officials and stakeholders from across the Valley joined him on a caravan tour — which included three stops along busy construction sites near Edinburg and La Villa — and then spoke to him directly during a roundtable discussion in Weslaco. This in hopes the Texas Senator can intercede for South Texas and draw down federal funding for ongoing flood mitigation projects during the next legislative session. Cornyn, who is up for re-election in 2020 and has visited the Valley seven times this year, took in as much information as possible as he walked through the mouth of what will one day be the Raymondville Drain near Edinburg Lake, the existing Panchita Structure near La Villa and the nearby Delta Water Reclamation project site. Read the full story at