San Diego Texas, April

What’s Going on Here? Accusations of election improprieties abound after recent elections in Jim Wells County. San Diego residents Tracy Lopez and her husband, Mark Anthony Lopez, accuse Mark’s stepmother, Cindy Lopez, of forging a mail-in ballot in her husband’s name. The Alice Echo-News Journal details the similar actions of election canvasser Norma Lopez (no relation to Tracy, Mark, and Cindy), who allegedly collected and hand-delivered (and may have even filled out) absentee ballots on behalf of residents who claim not to have voted at all. In a third election-related story, Eddie DeLeon of Jim Wells County was turned away from the polls because “he’d already voted” via mail-in ballot. The next day, when election officials showed DeLeon a copy of “his” ballot, DeLeon denied its legitimacy. “That’s not my signature,” he said. “What’s going on here?”

Groom That Heifer Zachary Arnold of Orange Grove won a $1250 certificate to purchase a registered beef heifer after winning the calf scramble at the Houston Livestock show. Arnold was the first of 28 competitors to capture a calf and pull it into the winner’s square. He will groom and feed his new heifer for a year and then enter it into competition at the Houston Livestock Show in 2011.

Beyond Strong At the Region V Power Meet at Welasco High School, Justin Garcia placed second in the 181-pound division, with a total of 1350 pounds. The Alice High School senior’s statistics for the competition included a 540-pound squat, a 310-pound bench-press, and a 500-pound dead-lift. The score qualifies Garcia for the Texas High School Powerlifting Association State Championships in Abilene, Texas.

Stung Duval County officers and U.S. Marshals, working alongside Texas state troopers and the San Diego and Freer police departments, ended a six-month sting operation during which undercover agents and criminal informants bought marijuana, cocaine, and heroin from local drug dealers. The operation ended with the arrest of 13 individuals on drug-related charges. “For us, it’s a huge victory,” says José Martinez, chief deputy for the Duval County Sheriff’s Department. “Where there’s drugs, you’re going to have burglaries and vandalism because [drug addicts] don’t have jobs and they need to support their habit.”

Thick as Thieves San Diego police, Alice police, and Jim Wells County sheriffs arrested several alleged members of a burglary ring operating in and around San Diego. Isauro Franco III, Federico Juarez Sr., and Joel Salinas (all of San Diego) face multiple charges, including burglary, grand theft, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Police blame the ring for more than 20 break-ins during the first three months of 2010, including attacks on the Big Taco restaurant, Rosie’s Corner Store, and several automotive repair shops.

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