Former Smith County Deputy Charged With Accepting Bribes
Whenever you binge watch these drug crime dramas like "Narcos", there's always a character in Law Enforcement that seems to be helping the "bad guys" engage in illegal activity or just look the other way. Unfortunately for one former Smith County Deputy, who is already facing a ton of heavy charges for helping out drug dealers is now getting slapped with more charges as we learn more details on the illegal activity of Luis Sandoval.
28-year-old Luis A. Sandoval was arrested back in August and charged with misuse of official information in state court.
According to KETK, an arrest warrant from last year alleged that Sandoval received a text message from a phone in Mexico asking him to run the driver’s license of a man trying to cross back into the U.S. who was a known drug dealer. The warrant included excerpts from multiple text messages from July 2 to July 3 from someone asking Sandoval to use his police database to look up information on the drug dealer. Another text sent later in the day to Sandoval said “I will deposit for you. Look, there’s nothing going to be wrong. I’ll erase it once I show it to him.”
The Texas Penal Code has two requirements to violate the statute of misuse of official information that Sandoval is charged with.
Sandoval agreed to the texts and searched the Texas Crime Information Center which is used to lookup warrants and criminal history, which can only be accessed through a unique login given to each peace officer. Because Sandoval used the database to disclose information from his employment for a nongovernment purpose and for releasing information that has not been made public, Sandoval texted back to the friend in Mexico, that the man, Martin Manriquez, had no active warrants for his arrest.
Sandoval who already stands accused of illegally assisting a drug dealer from Mexico is now facing a federal charge of accepting a bribe.
On top of state charges, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Sandoval in March on a charge of receiving a bribe as an agent of an organization that receives federal funds. The federal court documents allege that the bribe had “a value of $5,000 or more” and was “rewarded in connection with taking official action to protect the person’s illegal enterprise from law enforcement activity.” Under the federal charge, Sandoval faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine that could reach $250,000.