A state trooper, a fellow Department of Public Safety employee and a middleman were charged today with a scheme to sell driver's licenses to illegal aliens for $3,000.
Troooer Mark DeArza, 39, DPS clerk Lidia Gutierrez, 37 and a gas-station manager named Maen Bittar, 46, all face charges, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.
Between March and August 25 of this year, the indictment says, the three scammed licenses for illegals who had given Bittar $3,000 or more each.
After collecting the cash, Bittar told the erstwhile customers to go to the DPS offices on Old Galveston Road near Ellington Field. There, officials say, DeArza and Gutierrez "would assist the unqualified individual" with the DL application.
if they got faster service than the rest of us waiting on line, we're really pissed.
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The "applicants" not only didn't have the proper supporting documentation (of course), but they also were not required to take the written test or the driving test. So they did not know how many car lengths to stay behind while going 60 mph, or what "Ped Xing" means.
DeArza would give the temporary DLs to Bittar, who would deliver them to the applicants.
Officials did not provide numbers on how many DLs were given out.
"The Department of Public Safety aggressively pursues all allegations of criminal misconduct by its employees," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "I applaud the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office and our Texas Rangers in this joint investigation."