Robert Alvarez: TV-Star Gang Cop Accused of Inmate Sex, Abuse of Power, Theft

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If the producers of the History Channel's documentary series Gangland are to be trusted, Edinburg police investigator Robert Alvarez was one of the top cops in the Rio Grande Valley. The 47-year-old was tapped as a starring talking head in Gangland's episode on the Tri-City Bombers, the Valley's most-feared street gang.

But after an eight-count indictment was unsealed last week, Alvarez might be joining some of those he put behind bars in jail.

Authorities there say that Alvarez falsely reported working seven hours of overtime valued at between $500 and $1,500 when he was actually visiting a woman at her home, engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman whose cellphone number he originally obtained through a subpoena in a criminal investigation, and got a blowjob from another woman who at the time was in police custody on a robbery charge.

"It just kind of blew up in his face," a fellow cop told the McAllen Monitor. (Given the details of these events, perhaps that was a poor choice of words.)

The investigation was originally internal, and when Edinburg cops started finding smoke, they turned over their preliminary findings to the Texas Rangers. Now that the Rangers are done, Alvarez stands accused of three counts of criminal misuse of official information, two counts of violation of civil rights of a person in custody, two counts of tampering with government records and a single count of theft by a public servant.

Alvarez could get ten years in prison for each misuse of official information -- so you horny guys and gals better think twice about dating through the use of romantic subpoenas. Alvarez's attorney Reynaldo Merino told the McAllen Monitor that his client, who was fired by the department in December, was nonetheless surprised by the indictment.

"Prosecutors have discretion on the way they want to describe the elements of the offense set forth," Merino added. "In this case, they were written in a way you might say is disparaging."

A grand jury handed down the indictment in January, but it remained sealed until this week. Alvarez is slated to be arraigned today. Prosecutors and investigators are not discussing the case.

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