SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A former Bexar County Constable who’s running for sheriff has been indicted on several criminal charges.
Michelle Barrientes Vela faces felony and misdemeanor charges, including aggravated perjury, tampering with or fabricating evidence and official oppression.
Her former captain, Marc Duane Garcia, also was indicted on charges of aggravated perjury and official oppression.
“After a thorough investigation by the Texas Rangers, with the assistance of the FBI, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence that was submitted to us and then presented this case to the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury determined that there was probable cause that crimes were committed and returned true bills of indictment against former Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela and former Captain Marc Duane Garcia,”said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
Last year, a family enjoying a picnic at a county park said Vela forced them to pay her and a deputy constable $50 an hour for security in order to remain on the site.
The FBI opened an investigation last fall, and while they were raiding her office in September, Vela told reporters she was running for Bexar County Sheriff.
Bexar County Commissioners determined that she triggered her own resignation as constable when she announced she was running for sheriff. She claimed it was not an official announcement, but a mere “excited utterance,” Commissioners announced her office was vacant, sought applications and appointed Leticia Vazquez to fulfill the remainder of Vela’s term.