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Sheriff's Office fires deputy linked to illegal gambling operation

1 month 1 week 5 days ago Thursday, February 20 2020 Feb 20, 2020 February 20, 2020 8:18 AM February 20, 2020 in News
The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office fired Deputy Rodolfo Roel Salinas (lower right) on Feb. 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.)

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office fired a deputy last week after an internal investigation revealed links between the deputy and an illegal gambling operation.

Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra fired Deputy Rodolfo “Rudy” Salinas, 40, of San Juan on Feb. 12.

“I am extremely disappointed, and greatly concerned regarding the allegations by one of my deputies,” Guerra said in a statement.

Rodolfo Roel Salinas worked at prisons in Karnes County and Raymondville before joining the Sheriff’s Office in June 2005, according to Hidalgo County personnel records. After two years at the county jail, Salinas became a deputy.

He was assigned to the Patrol Division, according to personnel records released by the Sheriff’s Office, which included a stellar performance review from October 2019.

“This deputy has a wealth of knowledge and experience,” according to the performance review completed by a patrol sergeant. “I would like to see him venture out to a new assignment such as investigations, something that could challenge him more.”

Just three months later, though, the Sheriff’s Office placed Salinas on paid administrative leave.

“?On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, I was informed of an incident involving deputy, Rodolfo Salinas involving multiple policy violations,” Guerra said in the statement. “Rodolfo was placed on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation as a standard protocol. As a result of that investigation, Salinas was terminated on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.”

The internal investigation concluded Salinas violated a slew of Sheriff’s Office policies.

“Policies found to have been violated include Immoral Conduct which violates common decency on the job or associated with the job related activities, Violation of existing federal, state or county and/or District laws rules or and/or District, Engaging in off the job location and off duty conduct which negatively affects the employee’s effectiveness on the job or negatively affects the County and/or District, Poor job performance, Failure to comply with laws, and Unbecoming Conduct,” according to the statement.

The statement didn’t address what, exactly, Salinas did.

Asked for additional details, Guerra declined to comment. The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t comment on personnel matters.

A person with knowledge of the situation, however, said the internal investigation revealed Salinas had links to an illegal gambling operation.

“I am committed to preserving the public’s confidence and trust in the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office,” Guerra said in the statement. “We will continue to investigate any and all allegations of employee misconduct, and I will take the necessary and appropriate actions to maintain accountability and transparency to you, the citizens we serve.”

Salinas didn’t respond to requests for comment. He hasn’t been arrested or charged with any crime.

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