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Fund use investigation continues
Frio County Precinct 4 Constable Rene Lozano was arrested last week on a misdemeanor charge for abuse of official capacity.
The elected officer is close to completing 18 years as constable in his precinct.
A report was made to the Texas Rangers after suspicious spending was discovered by the county auditor, according to a report on the case.
Details into the allegations of misuse of funds and suspicious spending have not been made available due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers and the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s office.
Constable Lozano, Pct. 2 Constable Rudy Ortegon and Pct. 1 Constable Joe Ramirez were awarded an additional $1,200 by the county for fuel and lubricants in July 2022. The budget amendment came after the constables claimed fuel prices continued to rise.
At the time, Lozano had used all but $200 of his fuel allowance and reports showed that from October 2021 through July 2022, the constable had responded to 41 calls, 29 of which were traffic stops.
Records filed at the Frio County Jail show Lozano turned himself in to detention staff on Wednesday, November 8, and was released on a $5,000 personal bond later that day.
According to the Penal Code, Section 39.02, regarding abuse of official capacity, “a public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, he intentionally or knowingly violates a law relating to the public servant’s office or employment; or misuses government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of the public servant’s office or employment.”
If convicted, the constable could face up to a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.