A Duval County deputy turned himself in Tuesday afternoon and confessed to Texas Rangers he had used his authority for a sexual favor.
Ricardo “Richie” Garza, 23, was charged with official oppression and arrested after he turned himself in at the Duval County jail about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Duval Sheriff Romeo Ramirez said Garza confessed to Texas Rangers about the sexual misconduct that took place during a traffic stop near Freer.
“He apologized for what he did and cooperated with the investigation,” Ramirez said. “I believed I had reason to terminate him.”
Ramirez said Garza stopped a 41-year-old woman in the city of Freer for a traffic violation.
“She was asked to do sexual favors in lieu of not receiving a ticket or not getting arrested,” Ramirez said.
The woman was traveling from Laredo to her hometown of Houston on March 30 about 2 a.m. Garza asked her to meet at a different location on a secluded county road about four miles north of Freer where the sexual act was performed, Ramirez said.
The Texas Rangers were notified by the woman about two weeks ago and have been investigating the case. The Rangers interviewed Garza during which he confessed to sexual misconduct.
“It’s hard when you deal with one of our own, the public holds us to higher standards,” Ramirez said.
Garza was with Duval County for two months and also worked with Jim Wells County Sheriff’s Department, from which he resigned. Before that he was a police officer with the Freer Police Department.
Chief Deputy Jose Martinez III said he was disappointed with Garza’s actions.
“I’m not proud when things like this happen, it brings the officers’ morale down,” Martinez said. “I’m disappointed with the actions of this officer.”
Ramirez said the department cooperated with the Texas Rangers and assisted with video from the patrol unit and other logs that could be used for evidence.
“We can’t tolerate this behavior from our officers while in uniform,” he said.