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Former assistant district attorney allegedly involved in bribery scheme
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, TEXAS - A former El Paso assistant district attorney was handcuffed Tuesday on charges of conspiring to accept bribes to dismiss criminal cases two years ago.
Antonio Reyes was arrested on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and deprivation of honest services, according to U.S. Attorney's Office.
Reyes appeared in court Tuesday afternoon. It's a setting he's no stranger to. He worked in the El Paso County District Attorney's Office for nine months and then left to work for a private firm. But Tuesday, his court attire was a little different than the usual suit and tie. Instead he was wearing a blue prison jumpsuit and handcuffs.
The arrest indictment alleges that on March 30, 2011, until April 15, 2011, Reyes conspired with others through text messaging to accept cash bribes in exchange for dismissing pending criminal cases.
"My reaction is shocked and I think it's terrible that someone in that position would do that," said Wilma Salzman of west El Paso.
According to Salzman, Reyes should be held to a higher standard.
"We put our faith in, at least I do, in someone in positions like that, that they're going to do the right thing and not profit for themselves," said Salzman.
District Attorney Jaime Esparza released the following statement.
"My office requested the assistance from the FBI when we learned of possible misconduct by a former prosecutor who worked in my office for nine months," Esparza said in a statement today. "I am unable to comment further as a matter is pending in federal court."
Reyes was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under a $20,000 signature bond. His first court hearing is scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m.
If Reyes is found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison.