Ex Precinct 2 Constable Arrested
There were several things we expected to happen regarding Michelle Barrientes-Vela. That she would be arrested was definitely one of them. That expectation came to fruition today. Barrientes-Vela was made aware of the indictment against her and decided to turn herself in. She was placed in handcuffs and shackles then was led before Judge Oscar Joseph Kazen who was also acting as a magistrate.
Judge Kazen performed the magistration functions of reading both Barrientes-Vela and Marc Garcia (the former captain under her) their rights and warnings. The media was then asked to leave the room.
Michelle Barrientes-Vela is facing charges of one count of Aggravated Perjury, two counts of Tampering with Evidence and three counts of Official Oppression.. The first three charges are felonies and the last three charges are Class A misdemeanors. The caption who served under her, Marc Garcia, was charged with one count of Aggravated Perjury and three counts of Official Oppression. Barrientes-Vela received a $25,000 bond and Garcia was given a $15,000 bond. Barrientes-Vela was processed and released within 1 1/2 hours. No mention is made in the KSAT article regarding Marc Garcia but we figure he was able to bond out also.
Barrientes-Vela’s first court appearance is scheduled for February 26 but more than likely her attorney will get that postponed to try to minimize damage to her campaign.
Running for Sheriff
Another thing we expected to happen was that if she was arrested while still campaigning for sheriff, that she would continue with her campaign. That did indeed happen. Barrientes-Vela announced that she would continue with her campaign and of course, the law allows her to. Legally, she is innocent until proven guilty. Barrientes-Vela spoke to the media and said the following,
“I’m going forward, I’m going forward with the Bexar County Sheriff’s race. I have invested my own personal money with my husband along side of me. We are not, we are sending a strong message out there that we are not accepting high contributions. We are not going to be bought by special interest people.”
Gunning for Salazar
I haven’t heard of when the sheriff’s debate is going to be but there usually is one and I expect this year will be no different. It’s normal that everyone in the debate will try to discredit the current sheriff. Not only has Salazar given them a lot of ammunition but the statement from Barrientes-Vela tells me that she plans on going after him about that $45,000 he got from the Wells, whose company is involved in the San Angelo bribery scandal. (See our story here). That can be a really scary thing for Salazar. Barrientes-Vela is a loose canon at the best of times but now she has nothing to lose.
Additionally, she has made it plain that she feels Salazar is part of the group of people she feels is targeting her. His deputies just put her in handcuffs and shackles and led her before reporters like that. She will see it as personal and intentional because that’s exactly what she is accused of doing to Deputy Leonicio Moreno and she knows her motivation for doing it. She will assume the same of Salazar. I would bet she’s going to use the debate as an opportunity to exact some revenge. I expect this year’s debate will have some of the highest ratings ever for a Bexar County sheriff’s debate. I’m sure hoping to be able to watch it.
To refresh your memory of all the events leading up to the arrests we suggest you go to the KSAT article for information and videos.