Skip to content

La Joya ISD transportation dept. clerk arrested, charged


The Texas Department of Public Safety arrested two La Joya ISD transportation department employees Thursday morning, although according to the district police charged only one of those individuals with a crime and released the other after determining he hadn’t engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

Hidalgo County Jail records show DPS arrested Penitas resident Laura Rodriguez Thursday and charged her with tampering with a governmental school record, a third-degree felony.

Rodriguez remained in jail Thursday evening with a $30,000 bond.

A DPS spokesperson declined to comment on the arrests Thursday.

La Joya ISD representatives publicly addressed the arrests at least four times Thursday in statements that it clarified and amended throughout the day.

In a public comment before a La Joya board workshop that evening, Jaime “Jerry” Muñoz, an attorney for the district, said the arrests were related to 58 school buses and their vehicle safety certificates.

According to Muñoz, a data entry clerk self-reported their actions to the district.

The district says it directed that individual to report the situation to DPS, triggering an internal affairs investigation and an external criminal investigation.

Munoz declined to comment further on the allegations after Thursday’s meeting, describing himself as unauthorized to comment on an ongoing investigation.

He did, however, comment to local news station CBS 4/NBC 23, telling that outlet Rodriguez contacted a local business this summer that provided district buses with inspection stickers despite never inspecting those vehicles.

According to Muñoz, police withdrew charges against Jose Luz Alaniz, an assistant director of transportation at the district, after detaining him and finding he had not engaged in any criminal activity.

“There was a lot of attention around the arrest today, and it was damaging to the individual — personally, and professionally,” Muñoz said. “It’s important to stress that there was no wrongdoing on his part.”

Muñoz said he wasn’t sure what led DPS to arrest Alaniz initially.

“I can confirm that through the progress of the day and going through the facts and the documents that everybody had collected, there was no evidence to support an arrest of Jose Luz Alaniz,” he said.

In a statement, the district said the 58 buses related to the arrests have been inspected and cleared for safe use, although a district spokesperson said late Thursday that four buses remain in the shop.

A statement released by the district early Thursday afternoon said La Joya ISD placed both employees on administrative leave, although a subsequent release only references one employee being placed on leave.

“In response to this incident, we are re-enforcing our current procedures and safeguards to ensure that we mitigate the risk of such incidents occurring in the future,” statements read.

According to the district, board trustees were not informed about the investigations prior to Thursday in an effort to maintain the investigations’ integrity.

“Since the matter involved possible criminal activity, our internal affairs agency did not communicate any facts or confirm any investigation to a member of the board of trustees,” Muñoz said.


Leave a Comment