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Peñitas mayor pleads guilty in public corruption case

Peñitas Mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez pleaded guilty to a federal theft charge on Thursday. During a hearing on Thursday afternoon, Lopez “admitted that in 2018 he aided and abetted the La Joya Independent School District (LJISD) athletic director in committing fraud against the district,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for…

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Mission businessman pleads not guilty to witness tampering in western Hidalgo County corruption case

A businessman accused of tampering with a witness in the western Hidalgo County corruption case pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Jorge O’Caña Jr., 43, of Mission — the nephew of Mayor Armando “Doc” O’caña and the brother of Hidalgo County Court-at-Law Judge Patricia “Patty” O’Caña-Olivarez — pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. During a hearing on Wednesday…

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FBI arrests Peñitas mayor on theft charges

The FBI arrested Peñitas Mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez on federal theft charges Monday. Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez, 38, of Peñitas paid a La Joya Independent School District employee to approve purchases from his company, Xizaka LLC, according to the indictment against him. In response to a request for comment, the FBI released a statement. “The FBI…

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Former City Councilwoman Norie Gonzalez Garza will be Mission’s next mayor

Former City Councilwoman Norie Gonzalez Garza will become the next mayor of Mission. Gonzalez Garza defeated Mayor Armando “Doc” O’caña during a runoff election on Saturday, according to preliminary results published by the Hidalgo County Elections Department. Nearly 56% percent of about 7,000 people who cast ballots supported Gonzalez Garza. O’cana won about 44%. “I’m…

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Mission mayoral race heads to runoff between Mayor O’caña, Councilwoman Gonzalez Garza

The four-way race for mayor of Mission will head to a runoff between City Councilwoman Norie Gonzalez Garza and Mayor Armando “Doc” O’caña. Gonzalez Garza received nearly 37% of 7,576 ballots cast during the mayoral election, according to preliminary results published by the Hidalgo County Elections Department on Saturday night. “I just think that our…

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La Joya school board trustee pleads guilty to extortion charge in western Hidalgo County corruption case

La Joya school board Trustee Oscar “Coach” Salinas pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge Thursday, when he confessed to shaking down an engineering firm and threatening to cancel an insurance contract for political reasons. Oscar “Coach” Salinas, 52, of Sullivan City — an influential player in western Hidalgo County politics — pleaded guilty Thursday…

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Exclusive: Mission CISD received federal grand jury subpoena

The Mission Consolidated Independent School District received a federal grand jury subpoena in June for records on Performance Services Inc., an Indiana-based company that specializes in energy savings contracts. Issued on June 1, the subpoena instructed Mission CISD to provide the FBI with audits, documents reviewed by the school board and other records. “Mission CISD…

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