15 Arrested in Starr County Tax Office Raid

We begin tonight in Rio Grande City, where the Starr County District Attorney’s office raided the county’s tax collector’s office arresting 15 people including tax assessor Maria del Carmen Pena and six government employees.

The arrests are part of two separate 3-year-long investigations by the DA’s office along with seven other agencies including the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

Authorities were looking into the theft of over $700,000, acts of bribery and the fraudulent issuance of vehicle registration stickers.

“The Starr County auditor noted in 2012 a growing concern about an imbalance of funds at the tax collector’s office. In 2013 in a separate investigation but the registration side of that office, registering large amounts of vehicles to fake addresses, some of those vehicles used in narcotics trafficking.”

District Attorney Omar Escobar tells FOX 2 News those arrested will face a judge in their formal arraignment tomorrow morning.