Federal authorities raided the headquarters of a Texas border sheriff’s office whose top official is widely known for claiming that the border is safe. The sheriff frequently minimizes cartel activity even though one of Mexico’s most violent criminal organizations operates in his county.
On Monday, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations raided the Webb County Sheriff’s Office in Laredo, Texas. The Laredo Morning Times first reported on the raid. Breitbart Texas contacted an FBI spokesman who confirmed that they executed court-authorized law enforcement activities at the building but could not provide additional details.
The United Independent School District in Laredo issued a prepared statement confirming that a second raid had taken place at their offices in connection with Disinfect Promaster. That company is owned by Web County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Ricardo “Rick” Rodriguez. The assistant chief also serves as a board member in the school district. In response to the raid, the school board stated that they did not have the authority to remove Rodriguez, but they would be meeting this week to discuss the issue.
By Monday afternoon, the Webb County Sheriff’s Office sent out a prepared statement claiming that the case was also tied to Rodriguez and Disinfect Promaster.
In their statement, sheriff’s officials claimed that sheriff’s employees cooperated with authorities and that Sheriff Martin Cuellar was questioned about employees disinfecting services carried out in county buildings, churches, and daycares. “He explained that this service was provided through the Sheriff’s Office and not through the company,” the statement revealed.
During his time as sheriff, Cuellar has made a name for himself for his constant claim that the border is safe and for minimizing the presence of drug cartels in Laredo. This is despite the fact that the city is one of the main trafficking routes used by the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas.
In 2015, Martin Cuellar claimed that a large-scale marijuana growing operation with more than 1,070 plants and with security guards armed with AK-47s was not tied to Los Zetas. As Breitbart Texas reported exclusively at the time a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council revealed that the grow operation was tied to a Mexican drug cartel.
Cuellar is also the brother of U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) who was himself the target of an FBI raid in January 2022. Federal authorities served search warrants in his office and home, also in Laredo. As Breitbart Texas reported, the case was tied to a federal grand jury inquiry into Cuellar, his wife, and unnamed associates in relation to dealings with foreign officials from Azerbaijan and favors allegedly granted in exchange for valuables. At the time, the investigation caused much speculation about possible arrests or investigations. Since then, that case appears to have gone dormant.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Randy Clark contributed to this report.
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