Brownsville’s Demoted Fire Official Turns Himself In
BROWNSVILLE – The former Brownsville fire chief arrested Tuesday on third-degree felony charges was released after posting bail.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS learned Carlos Elizondo surrendered to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday afternoon.
We captured the moment Elizondo was escorted out of the DA’s office in handcuffs. He was put in a unit and transported to the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center in Olmito.
The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office did not confirm the reason for Elizondo’s arrest.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to Elizondo’s attorney, Noe D. Garza Jr., as he was leaving his office. He told us the charges are breach of fiduciary duty and theft by a public servant.
"It's not normal procedure that you turn yourself in at the districts attorney's office and have the media waiting for you," he said. "Normally, the process is you are arrested by an agency, you're taken to the sheriff's department – as we were also willing to do that, so I don't see what the purpose of that was. The charges are bogus and we intend to litigate them fully in court," he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, investigators with the DA’s office, along with Brownville police, executed a search warrant at Elizondo’s home. It's unknown what was confiscated from the residence.
The fire chief was demoted to lieutenant in September after an audit revealed he authorized the rerouting of nearly 80 emergency calls to a private ambulance company. The audit alleges the orders cost the city a loss of income of more than $62,000.
Prior to that discovery, the firefighters union also raised allegations that thousands of dollars were missing from their funds; accounts which Elizondo oversaw.
Elizondo was subsequently placed on paid administrative leave.
According to a statement released by the DA's office, Saenz requested a $30,000 bond for each charge. However, the judge set an $8,500 bond for each count.
He said he expects his client to be out by Tuesday evening.