Friday, March 10, 2017


By Juan Montoya
It was, in local legal parlance, an open and shut case.
A local woman working at a Brownsville bar charged with selling beer to an intoxicated man January 29, 2015 and is convicted in court by  a jury and sentenced to 12 months in jail probated to six months. A jury returned the verdict at 9:45 a.m. Friday after deliberating Thursday for an hour before recessing for for the day.

The Cameron County District Attorney's Office had the testimony of undercover and "open" Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents asserting that on that night (into the next morning) Baudelia Alvarez sold beer to Daniel Vasquez after he had been seen falling three times and knocking over his girlfriend off a stool. Further, they testified that he had "staggered walk, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech."

That would have been the end of that, except for a few minor details.
Vasquez is the store manager of the Dollar Tree store in downtown Brownsville and he had just gotten off work Friday at 10 p.m., had gone home to shower and change, and arrived with his girlfriend at the Carta Brava Bar and Grill after 11 p.m. He was arrested at 12: 15 a.m., barely an hour later.

Agents testified that they saw Alvarez personally sell him the beer after she had seen him fall off his chair three times and knocking his girlfriend to the floor. When he was walking out the door with her, he was met at the door by "open" agents, handcuffed, and arrested as was Alvarez by undercover agents inside. As he was being held and he was demanding to know why he was being arrested, a woman – not his companion – ran up to him and kissed him, inciting a scene between her and Vasquez's companion.

There was no field sobriety test performed on Vasquez, agents said, because of "the terrain,"no Breathalyzer, and the TABC cars had no cameras to record the events.

That's what the jury heard. But this is what people who know them say really happened.
The woman who ran up to kiss him as he stood handcuffed was his ex-girlfriend, jealous because Vasquez was with another woman. She also knew one of the female agents who was conducting the operation at the bar and had called her to tell them Vasquez would be there driving a gray Camaro with drugs in the trunk. In fact, Vasquez and the woman had parked his car at a downtown grocery store parking lot (HEB) and walked the two block to the bar.

The agents inside told the jury that Alvarez was the only person working that night, contrary to the testimony of the bar manager at the time (Carlos Ruiz Velgara) who told the jury he had Alvarez working the cash register exclusively, and two other waiters (Alma Gutierrez and a man named Efrain), tending to the tables outside the bar.
Gutierrez, who worked tending tables that night, told the jury that she and Efrain (a flirt) were in charge of different sides of the bar and that she was working the side where Vasquez and his date were sitting.

"Did you ever see Vasquez fall down once?" asked defense attorney Nat Perez.
"Nunca," responded Gutierrez.
"Twice?," queried the attorney.
"No," she answered.
"If an agent said that he knocked down his companion, would that be true?," he asked.
"No," she answered. "If he had fallen down or knocked her down, I would have seen them because I was working near where they were sitting."

"If three certified and trained law enforcement agents say they saw Mr. Vasquez stagger and fall three times, are they lying?," asked Ass. D.A. Anthony Cornejo.
"I don't know what they said," she replied, "I'm only telling you what I saw, and Mr. Vasquez did not fall down. I would have seen him because I was right there."

On agent said she was keeping her cover and pretending she was not drinking, contrary to the testimony a fellow undercover agent who said she was drinking, and in fact had been drinking at previous establishments that the team had targeted for their operation on that night.

When Alvarez and his companion walked outside to leave, the agents who arrested him kept asking him where his Camaro was.

"The kept saying, where's the Camaro where you have the drugs," Vasquez said. "I had the keys, but the car was not anywhere near. How did they know I had a Camaro?"
Vasquez told the jury that he had paid the fine for public intoxication after spending the night at Rucker-Carrizales Detention Center in Olmito because that was the only way he would be set free quickly and return to manage his store. That piece of evidence, his signature on the receipt, was the proof the state offered to convict Alvarez of selling to an intoxicated person.

There were other inconsistencies in the state's version of the case.
Alvarez told the jury that she knew that TABC agents were in the bar. She said they periodically came into the bar to inspect the premises for violations. She told jurors what  waitress Gutierrez told them: that Vasquez had not fallen down, that he had not knocked his girlfriend down, and that she had not sold him any beer. She also disputed the agents' testimony that she had personally sold them beer.

"I knew the TABC agents who were in the bar and I knew I could be fined and arrested if I offered them anything," she told the jury. "What they're saying is false."

The five-women (most professionals) and one-man jury gave county Asst. District attorneys Bryan McDonald and Cornejo a guilty verdict. This was, in fact, Cornejo's first trial as a Cameron County Ass. D.A.

Alvarez, who had no prior arrests for any offense, now has a record, and will have to pay the $150 fine and court costs and comply with the terms of her probation. She also got her first taste of jail when she spent the night at Carrizales on the day of her arrest. Will she, with an elementary school education and children to feed and clothe, be able to continue working as a cashier at an establishment that serves alcohol?

Nat Perez did admirably with the tools he had at his disposal against the state. After the trial, County County-at-Law #3 Judge Gonzalez David Gonzales III congratulated Perez, Cornejo and McDonald for their performance in the case. Justice, as far as the courts were concerned, had been done.

About a month after the January 29, 2015 incident involving Vasquez and Alvarez, his female companion that night came upon Vasquez's ex-girlfriend, the woman who had reported him and who then ran up to him as he was handcuffed and kissed him before he was hauled off to jail.

"You should have seen her – and she was real short – tear into the other woman y le puso una chinga," said the woman who saw the fight. "The other girl was bigger but it took three of us to get her off her. We had to pull her off before she killed her."

Justice, as the say, has many faces.


Anonymous said...

Dime con quien te juntan y te dire quien eres
Pura kaka

Anonymous said...

Poor lady just making a living
Pinches tabc over achievers
They should become real law enforcement officers if they're as bad as they think. Buncha lying female reproductive parts.

Anonymous said...

Cantineras have zero political power, even in Southmost.

Anonymous said...

No llores, Juan. Sigues siendo El Puto Del Pueblo!

Anonymous said...

They used to do the same to you, right, Juan! Glad it stopped??? Or has it?

Anonymous said...

Si, reminds me of the guys that work at the border britches los de customs.

Anonymous said...

Juan, Blimp was dissing you at the courthouse today. Said your not smart enough to cover the Tipton trial. Those around him got a laugh, dude!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 11:23. Use the proper words when posting , Roman Perez. You come off as an idiot and a chismoso . Grow up and stop embarrassing your family you Catholic hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Pobre romancito
Se me hace que el zazerdote
Lo acoso