The newest trouble at Precinct 6
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston constable says he's investigating his own department, looking to see if anyone has an improper connections to suspected pills mills disguised as pain clinics.
Victor Trevino is reacting to another embarrassing incident. This time, a DEA raid nets lots of cash and an unauthorized badge from his own department.
One county official tell us what we've uncovered is dangerous, very dangerous -- someone using unauthorized badges from a Houston constable's office.
When the DEA raided a fancy house in the Rice Village area last week, they couldn't have known about the can of worms they were getting ready to open. And the guy in the back of the squad car is smack down in the middle of it.
"You also have a police ID?" we asked him as he was sitting the back of a police car.
"No comment," he said.
Richard Romero's racketeering arrest was the Texas connection to a sweeping raid in Georgia -- part of the biggest pill mill bust in that state's history.
"They are drug dealers, ladies and gentleman. What do drug dealers do? They profit off of the addiction of other people," Dekalb County District Attorney Robert James said.
In Georgia, they seized hundreds of pounds of pills, and in Romero's house, they found a huge stash of cash.
But that's not all. The DEA confirms Romero had police credentials from Precinct 6. Romero denied it was his donations to the charity founded by the constable that got him the ID as a Precinct 6 liaison.
"I've had that for awhile. It has nothing to do with it. I help them raise funds," Romero said.
But then a curve ball. The constable claimed he didn't even know Romero had one of his police IDs.
"He's not aware that Romero Jr. is an active liaison until he's informed by the deputies after he was arrested here recently by the DEA," said Chip Lewis, attorney for Harris County Pct. 6 Constable Victor Trevino.
But the Romero connection is raising all kinds of questions. We found a memo from May of this year from the Romero family, asking for new police credentials because they lost their old ones. And guess who it was sent to? The constable.
"That gets into a point of what the constable knew, when he knew it," Lewis said.
Precinct 6 records show Richard Romero got his ID way back in 2007, and it's a family affair. Daddy got one, too. And it didn't take long for one of the Romeros to get into trouble.
The elder Richard Romero was busted in Beaumont, where he lives, for -- you guessed it -- impersonating a public servant. The charges were dismissed this year, but the indictment claimed Romero flashed this badge after a traffic wreck. You can see it says Precinct 6. At the very top of the badge it says liaison, but who reads a flashed badge that closely?
And we know some Precinct 6 commanders knew about the arrest from this email we found that they sent to investigators in Beaumont.
"...Bottom line is he is a liaison with this office but we do not give out badges," the email said.
Now the constable is claiming his commanders kept him in the dark about the whole arrest.
"Three of his top command staff knew about this and didn't tell him?" We asked Lewis.
"And I hope that the investigation reveals a very good reason for that. I hope it does not reveal that someone had a relationship with the Romeros and they didn't want the constable to know about that relationship," Lewis replied.
And then last week, the DEA finds another badge -- this one in the young Romero's home after it was raided.
"Constable Trevino never authorized and never would authorize the production, delivery of a badge to a community liaison," Lewis said.
The DEA says that badge has been turned back over to Precinct 6.
"That's not a Walmart badge," we told Lewis.
"No it's not. It looks way too real, and that's part of the constable's concern, and I'm confident the district attorney is concerned, also," he replied.
Tonight, a possible breakthrough in the case. The constable's lawyer tell us a Precinct 6 corporal named Jarell Caldwell has admitted getting the badges made for the Romeros. If you go to the 13 Undercover Interactive, you can see the corporal, along with Diva Takila James, who's also under investigation for possible time sheet fraud.
Caldwell has no comment tonight but the obvious questions is why, who else has these badges, and why doesn't the constable know who his department trusts with police IDs?
On the 13 Undercover Interactive, you can see all you want to know about these liaisons, even show you some of the folks who have these badges.
13 undercover, wayne dolcefino
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