More charges for ex-McAllen officer accused of distributing meth

Juan Garza

A former McAllen police officer’s criminal matters have gotten worse.

The department said in a Monday news release that investigators have filed new charges against 33-year-old Juan Garza, who resigned from his position in late May after his former colleagues arrested him on five drug charges.

Now, he is also facing charges of misuse of official information and criminal conspiracy: smuggling of persons.

Perla Lopez, the 26-year-old who made the call to police at 4:36 a.m. May 27 to report “messages from strangers” and two silhouettes outside her home that led to Garza’s arrest, is also facing an additional charge of criminal conspiracy: smuggling of persons.

That call also resulted in the arrest of 35-year-old Randy Johnson Jr.

When McAllen police responded to Lopez’s call for service at her residence in the 3400 block of N. McColl Road, they determined she had an outstanding warrant from the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department for a bond forfeiture in a possession of a controlled substance case, according to a news release.

When she learned she was going to be arrested, Lopez asked police if she could gather clothes from inside her residence. When she went inside, police found the two men and drugs in plain sight. Police charged the trio with possession and use of a volatile chemical; possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which are misdemeanors.

The three are also facing two felonies for charges of possession of controlled substances and manufacture or delivery of substances.

At the time, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez told The Monitor that the felony charges were related to the distribution of methamphetamines.

All of the suspects have been unable to make bond and remain jailed at the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center.

Garza, the former officer, is held on a total of $71,000 in bonds; Lopez remains jailed on a total of $88,000; and Johnson is being held on a total of $68,000, jail records indicate.