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Cameron Co. Judge Calls for Review of Department Procedures

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BROWNSVILLE – Cameron County investigators are now trying to determine if the man arrested for an alleged $1.2 million worth of stolen fajitas acted alone and what exactly he was doing with all that meat.

Meanwhile, county judge Eddie Treviño is calling for a review of procedures in all departments.

He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS recovering that money will be an uphill battle.

Gilberto Escamilla had worked at the Darrell B. Hester Juvenile Detention Center for 22 years as the chief cook, according to chief executive officer Rose Gomez.

He was fired in August when authorities discovered he was allegedly responsible for the theft of $1.2 million worth of fajitas over the past nine years.

Treviño said it's not the Cameron County Commission that oversees the juvenile detention center.

It's a juvenile board made-up of the county's state district judges and Gomez that oversee operations.

He wants to know how the alleged crime went unnoticed.

"If they were buying fajitas and weren't serving fajitas, why didn't anybody say something," the judge said.

This case is embarrassing for all departments in the county, Treviño said, and a tough lesson learned.

"My understanding is that the only other department in the county that serves food is the jail, which is under the sheriff's department," Treviño said, "so, we're going to make sure to check with them to make sure everything is being done according to policy and procedure."

Gomez would not go on camera to comment about the case.

She did release this statement:

"The juvenile justice department is working closely with the auditor's office to institute procedures, controls and safeguards to avoid a recurrence of this type of situation. The department expects that wrongdoers will be punished, and assures that procedures and protocols have been established."

Treviño is also sending all county employees a message.

"(If) they stay quiet to protect their jobs or not get involved, or not say anything, they're doing a disservice to themselves, the community they serve, and the entire area that's paying their salary," the judge said.

It's everyone's responsibility to report illegal and immoral conduct, he added.

Employees and citizens can submit their complaints and concerns to the county judge's or auditor's office.

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