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Engineer arrested in western Hidalgo County corruption case

An engineer was arrested Monday in the western Hidalgo County corruption case.

Mariano Garcia of McAllen-based M. Garcia Engineering is accused of paying nearly $250,000 to Andres “Andy” Morales — a major player in western Hidalgo County politics — in exchange for a contract with the Agua Special Utility District.

“Defendant gave approximately $249,839.13 to Andres Morales, through RGV Redlight, as instructed by the Agua SUD General Manager intending to influence and reward said General Manager for his official support and recommendation for Agua SUD to award Defendant’s company a contract to serve as an owner’s representative in connection with an energy savings project,” according to the indictment.


Mariano Garcia

Mariano Garcia, center in the black mask, during a La Joya Economic Development Corp. meeting in January 2022. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / The Progress Times.)


Attorney Heriberto “Eddie” Medrano of Harlingen, who represents Garcia, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The case against Garcia is part of a major federal investigation that revealed widespread corruption in western Hidalgo County.

Four businessmen, two members of the La Joya school board and a member of the Peñitas City Council also pleaded guilty in the case.

Garcia paid Morales between March 19, 2018, and June 6, 2019, according to the indictment.

M. Garcia Engineering, meanwhile, became the “owner representative” on an $11.6 million energy savings project Agua SUD awarded to Performance Services Inc.

In exchange for engineering services, Garcia received 3% of the “project value,” according to contracts released under the Texas Public Information Act. Agua SUD approved the contracts with M. Garcia Engineering in 2018 and 2019.

During that period, Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz served as general manager for Agua SUD.

Saenz — who stopped working for Agua SUD in September 2021 — hasn’t been arrested or charged with any crime. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Garcia is charged with theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.


  1. Paul Nivals on June 7, 2022 at 9:23 am

    By Western Hidalgo County, does Weslaco count? Economic development. How about putting more than one sewer drain every 3 streets. Might help the floods. Town on the grow needs some of that money!

  2. Gloria salazar on June 7, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Hmmm i just contracted service with them, something fishy when I asked them to explain the charges and lady tells me I dont know. What I said, they ask for a deposit of 75$ and I explained to them them that my credit is almost perfect and lady responded we dont do credit check. I knew something was not right from the start.

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