Former Starr County attorney indicted on public corruption charges to be free on bond

Victor Canales

McALLEN — A federal judge set bond at $100,000 for the former Starr County attorney who appeared before the court Monday morning.

Victor Canales Jr. served as the Starr County attorney from 2005 through 2022. He was charged by indictment for bribery and extortion that allegedly took place in the later part of his time in office.

Wearing an orange uniform and handcuffs, Canales remained stoic as he appeared online via video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nadia S. Medrano who read the charges made against him.

Canales was arrested Friday in Rio Grande City and is facing nine charges, including bribery and extortion, related to his position as county attorney from 2005 through 2022.

“Victor Canales would convert funds destined for the Starr County’s Attorney’s Office for fines and fees, by requesting payment in cash or money orders, and then depositing the cash or money orders into his personal accounts,” the indictment alleged.

After a brief reset Monday morning, Canales then appeared in person wearing a gray shirt, dark shorts and no handcuffs for his arraignment and detention hearing in the early afternoon before Medrano.

He entered a plea of not guilty and the judge began addressing the issue of bond. Medrano considered his lack of criminal history and current employment before setting bond at $100,000. Medrano said he would not have to pay if he made all his court hearings.

Patricia Profit, assistant U.S. attorney, raised no objection to the terms of the bond. She mentioned she believed the Starr County property owned by one of the persons proposed to sign on the bond, Rafael Carrera, held significant value.

Canales was instructed not to travel outside of the Southern District of Texas unless with prior notice and approval from the court, as one of several bond conditions.

The bond paperwork was scheduled to be signed around 2 p.m. before he is released.