UPDATED: ‘Major player’ arrested in Alamo security leak case

Updated 5:48 p.m. Aug. 17

ALAMO — Police here arrested a fourth person in a security leak investigation Thursday, a man Chief Baudelio Castillo described as “one of the major players.”

Cristobal Garza Godinez turned himself in to authorities Thursday afternoon on an outstanding warrant for violating the terms of probation associated with a possession of marijuana charge dating back to 2015, Castillo said. Alamo police, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service, had been on the lookout for the 54-year-old for nearly two weeks, and he simply “got tired of hiding” from law enforcement, the chief said.

After turning himself in, Godinez was subsequently arrested on an engaging in organized criminal activity charge. He was arraigned on the third degree felony Friday, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and Alamo Municipal Judge Celia Garcia set his bond at $40,000.

The investigation began in July after the department discovered that Alamo Executive Secretary Crystal Garza was allegedly leaking sensitive police department narcotics information to a local drug trafficking organization, which included police targets and the identities of undercover narcotics officers. She was arrested July 26 on an engaging in organized criminal activity charge, and the city suspended her without pay.

Godinez is no stranger to law enforcement, and the criminal complaint released by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office in connection with Garza’s arrest describes him as “a known narcotic dealer.”

Alamo police also arrested him July 20 on a possession of marijuana charge after they executed a search warrant at 480 Cripple Circle the previous day, resulting in the discovery of 9.5 ounces of the drug, according to the complaint. While conducting surveillance at the house in the days leading up to the execution of the search warrant, officers with the Alamo Police Department Major Crimes Unit observed Garza “arrive and enter the residence where narcotics are being sold,” the complaint notes.

Investigators had previously conducted two narcotics-controlled buys at the home consisting of 0.3 grams of cocaine.

Police obtained Godinez’s cell phone during the July 19 warrant, and an examination of the device revealed that Garza, “on several occasions” texted Godinez about “the purchase and selling of narcotics.” Text messages also revealed that Garza’s daughters referred to him as “Uncle Chris,” according to the complaint.

The police chief previously told The Monitor that Garza was being used as a middleman to set up buys between “the actual bigger players” and smaller drug dealers and alleged that she was tipping off drug dealers about raids.

Castillo said Friday his department is looking for two more individuals in connection to the security leak investigation.

Garza’s mother, Janine Lynn Garza, and boyfriend, Eddie Ramirez, were arrested Aug. 1 and July 27, respectively, in connection with the case — both on tampering with physical evidence charges for allegedly trying to hide the executive secretary’s cell phone.

The FBI will take over the case once Alamo police make all their arrests, Castillo said, at which point the suspects could face additional federal charges.