Belinda Cortez-García, a 45-year-old, Starr County resident turned herself to the Starr County Special Crimes Unit late February 6th. She faces similar charges to the other two women previously arrested because of the investigation; at least one count for election fraud and at least one count for fraudulent use of an application for ballot by mail. The charges are classified as a Class A misdemeanor and a state jail felony respectively.
Cortez-Garcia was accompanied by her defense attorney, Abel Villarreal who stated,” This evening Belinda Garcia Cortez voluntarily turned herself in. She is my client and it’s unfortunate she is in a position where she does not know anything about the allegations against her and, I as her attorney, cannot get any answers from the people that are obligated to give it to her. This is a disturbing trend. I thank the media for keeping us updated. My client is presumed innocent until it’s proven otherwise in court. I was informed that this case was conducted by the Border Prosecution Unit. I doubt that any aspect of this case has any transnational crime element. Investigators can’t be treated as the DA’s private investigators for whatever project he has at the time, especially those tied exclusively to grants that are managed by the Governor’s office I challenge the district attorney’s office to provide such proof in Court and will not try this case in the media. My client will have her day in court..” Although the full complaint against the woman has not been released we will follow the story and update the facts as more details become available.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ramiro Guillen set bond conditions and Cortez-Garcia was released according to the terms.
“The lawyers all have access to the complaints setting out the details of the charges. While I understand some defense, attorneys don’t like their clients being investigated at all, any investigator having jurisdiction to investigate criminal offenses, may do so no matter where they are employed. Ms. Garcia has been charged with election fraud and fraudulent use of application for ballot by mail stemming from interviews with voters who have stared that they are not disabled and did not mark disability on applications for ballots by mail,” clarified 229th Judicial District Attorney Omar Escobar.
Escobar added, “Voters should take great care in handing over any kind of lection materials to politiqueras, including ballots that are currently going out to voters via mail. Any questions may be directed to the Starr County Elections Department.”