CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The mayor pro tem of Falfurrias has admitted she knowingly and intentionally aided and abetted an illegal gambling business operation in the state of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Leticia Hernandez Garza aka Letty Garza, 58, entered a guilty plea this morning.
A federal grand jury indicted Garza on March 23, 2016, for aiding and abetting an illegal gambling business in Falfurrias from on or about Jan. 1, 2009, to on or about May 31, 2015. She surrendered the following day to federal authorities.
The illegal gambling business involved several people who conducted, financed, managed, supervised, directed and owned all or part of such business. The business was in substantially continuous operation for more than 30 days and had a gross revenue in excess of $2,000 in a single day.
Following a one-year undercover operation, agents identified Garza and the owners, operators or managers of multiple illegal casinos in the Falfurrias area. On May 31, 2015, law enforcement raided the game rooms and residences of the owners, seizing $4.9 million.
As part of her plea, Garza admitted to using her influence as Mayor Pro Tem to aid and abet several of the illegal gambling businesses.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Ramos accepted Garza’s plea today and has set sentencing for Sept. 22, 2016. At that time, Garza faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. She was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The charges are the result of a two-year joint investigation by the FBI, Texas Rangers, Homeland Security Investigations, Kingsville Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force, Secret Service, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division, Jim Wells County District Attorney's Office and the Texas Border Prosecution Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Patterson is prosecuting the case.