Ex-Precinct 6 'liaison' arrested by DEA agents
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- SkyEye HD was overhead as DEA agents made a bust in an exclusive Houston neighborhood. It's a developing story with connections to the constable controversy we've been exposing. We're focusing not on the bust itself, but on the guy who agents busted. Wait until you see what the DEA found when they got inside his house.
For a constable already under criminal investigation, this can't be good news -- the DEA on Tuesday morning busting a house in the pricey Rice Village area, Precinct 6 constables there to help.
See the guy in the back of the patrol car? He's Richard Romero. He was arrested on a warrant out of Atlanta. The feds say they brought in the dogs on a Harris County search warrant.
We don't know what the DEA found, if anything, in the house but we do know they found a police ID from Victor Trevino's office.
No, Romero's not a deputy, but while wearing handcuffs, he confirmed he was a "community liaison for Precinct 6." What exactly does that mean? He told us he rides along, donates money. He called himself a Precinct 6 lackey and he does donate.
Back in May, he wrote a check for $4,000 to the charity Constable Trevino founded called CARE. We've been investigating where the CARE money went for months.
"That has nothing to do with it, I help him raise funds," Romero told us.
Romero told us months ago he gave Precinct 6 mountain bikes to replace cars they were losing in the budget cuts.
The donation was well known at Precinct 6. Former clerk Anna Nunez has detailed alleged wrongdoing in Precinct 6.
"The $4,000 check was made out payable to CARE, deposited into CARE's account, but the bikes were never purchased," Nunez said.
But when we talked to Trevino in July, he claimed he didn't know the donation was for bikes.
"If you want to give a donation to CARE, you give it because you believe in the charity and what it's about, not with any stipulation," he said.
What may be most troubling now is what else the constable is now claiming he didn't know about Romero.
"Neither Constable Trevino nor any of these arresting deputies were aware Mr. Romero was a community liaison. Upon notification, the constable terminated Mr. Romero's status and secured his credentials," Trevino's attorney, Chip Lewis, told us.
Makes you wonder who else has Precinct 6 credentials the constable claims he doesn't know about.
This arrest is shining light on the practice of some constable's offices to give out police IDs to people who aren't real deputies.
On Wednesday night, we're set to examine that very same practice at Precinct 7. But what we saw in Rice Village makes it clear this is not an isolated practice. It's our latest exclusive and 13 Undercover interactive.
13 undercover, wayne dolcefino
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