The Texas Rangers arrested three men last month after they allegedly threatened a Border Patrol agent during a traffic stop in La Joya.
Jose Guadalupe Castellano, 28, of La Joya; his brother, Marco Antonio Castellano, 27, of La Joya; and his friend, Brandon M. Vergara, 20, of La Joya, were charged with obstruction or retaliation, a third-degree felony.
“They maintain their innocence,” said attorney Terry Canales of Edinburg, who represents Marco Castellano. “And they anticipate going to trial.”
The Border Patrol agent, Adelaido Martinez, pulled over a 2012 Ford Fusion on Oct. 23. Martinez said he believed the Fusion had fake license plates that actually belonged to a truck.
When he approached the Fusion, the driver ignored him — and kept talking to someone on her phone.
Martinez said Jose Castellano showed up “a short time later” driving a 1989 Lincoln Town Car.
“Agent Martinez advised the vehicle came inches from hitting him, and he feared for his life and thought he was going to get hit on purpose,” according to the criminal complaint. “Agent Martinez stated the vehicle came so close he recognized the driver as Jose Guadalupe Castellano.”
Martinez said he believed the woman had called Jose Castellano.
“Agent Martinez stated that Jose Castellano got out cussing up a storm and told him he couldn’t stop his girlfriend because he is not the police,” according to the criminal complaint.
Moments later, Vergara and Marco Castellano arrived. They surrounded Martinez.
“Agent Martinez stated his fear factor elevated due to being outnumbered and his unit getting boxed in by these individuals,” according to the criminal complaint.
Jose Castellano told the woman to leave. After she drove away, Jose Castellano threatened to get his gun.
“You do what you have to do,” Martinez responded, according to the criminal complaint. The Castellano brothers and Vergara jumped in their cars and sped away.
In the criminal complaint, Martinez also claimed the Castellano brothers and Vergara smuggled drugs and migrants. The La Joya Police Department made similar claims about Vergara during August, when officers seized nearly $11,000 from him.
After investigating the incident, the Texas Rangers arrested the Castellano brothers on Dec. 3. Vergara was arrested on Dec. 6.
The arrest cost Marco Castellano his job with the city of La Joya.
“There were issues,” said Interim City Manager Leo Olivares. “We looked at them. And we took the appropriate steps.”
When, exactly, Marco Castellano started working for the city remains unclear.
Documents released under the Texas Public Information Act show Marco Castellano submitted two job applications to La Joya.
One is dated June 3, 2020. The second is undated.
Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office records, however, suggest Marco Castellano told jailers he started working for La Joya in December 2019.
La Joya also released an “employee action form” dated Jan. 4, 2021, which shows Castellano had just been hired by the Public Works department.
Castellano is the only person who signed the form. The signature lines for his supervisor, the city administrator and human resources are blank.
Whether or not La Joya conducted a background check on Marco Castellano is also unclear.
The job applications required Marco Castellano to disclose whether or not he’d ever been convicted of a felony.
Marco Castellano left that section blank on both applications, despite the fact he’d been convicted on at least four felony charges.
The La Joya Police Department investigated all four cases — including one that involved allegations Marco Castellano threatened City Councilman Roger Hernandez with a knife.
La Joya fired Marco Castellano on Dec. 22, citing his arrest and problems with his job application.
If convicted on the obstruction or retaliation charge, the Castellano brothers and Vergara face a maximum of 10 years in prison.