The Sheriff of Bexar County, Texas put himself in the national spotlight on Monday, announcing that his office would be opening an investigation into the two chartered planes reportedly sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Martha’s vineyard.

Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat, is supposedly investigating whether or not the largely Venezuelan immigrants sent to Massachusetts were promised jobs or other enticements, something DeSantis has denied.

But in chatting with people and looking around online, I see not too many people are familiar with Salazar, so let’s find out who DeSantis is dealing with.

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Well Known ‘Suspects’

At the press conference announcing his investigation, Sheriff Salazar stated:

“We are opening up a case. The facts of the case at this point are that on Wednesday, Sept. 14 here in Bexar County in the city of San Antonio, our understanding is that a Venezuelan migrant was paid what we could call a bird dog fee to recruit approximately 50 migrants. They were promised work, they were promised the solution to several of their problems. They were taken to Martha’s Vineyard for what we can gather little more than a video op and then they were unceremoniously stranded.”

Sheriff Salazar also claims that the migrants were “lured under false pretenses” onto planes:

“It is way too early for me to start naming any suspects. We do have the names of some suspects involved that we believe are persons of interest in this case at this point. But I won’t be parting with those names. I think, to be fair, I think everybody on this call knows who those names are already, so I won’t be naming any of them. But suffice it to say, we will be opening up a case.”

Interesting. So why is this Texas Sheriff opening up a case? For those unfamiliar, Bexar County is not on the border, but is instead the home of San Antonio. It sits approximately 150 miles north of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

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Meet Sheriff Salazar

So who is Sheriff Javier Salazar? He became Sheriff of Bexar County in 2017, after many years in the San Antonio Police Department, and was re-elected in 2020.

A quick Google search finds a number of controversies surrounding the Sheriff.

In April 2011, Deputy Armando Lopez was fired after it was determined that he falsified several confidential informant payment vouchers dating from January to March 2009.

In December of 2018, Lopez was rehired by Salazar. A search of political contributions showed that Lopez had contributed to then-candidate Javier Salazar’s campaign to be elected Sheriff in 2016. The contributions totaling $4,000 stretched from December 2015 to September 2016, weeks before the election.

Salazar is also not afraid to align his elected office with his political beliefs. In June, following the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, Salazar announced he would not attempt to charge women in San Antonio who sought abortions.

He ripped into both the Supreme Court ruling and Texas lawmakers for trying to “impose their supposed morals on others.” He added, “They will not use my badge or the color of my office to do so. My job is chasing predators, rapists and human traffickers, not someone exercising a right.”

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Questions Of Competence

At least at one point, Sheriff Salazar’s own deputies did not think too highly of him. In April of 2019, the union that represents Bexar County deputies filed a class action lawsuit against Salazar for they claimed was “blatant political pandering,” and also contract violations regarding deputy firings.

According to the lawsuit, Salazar was in violation numerous times of the Texas Government Code and the union’s collective bargaining agreement by firing deputies who had been arrested prior to investigating any charges.

The deputies also point to statements made by Salazar about them that were disparaging. In an interview with the local ABC affiliate, Salazar said that he would give his own job performance an “A,” even though he was not left with a “Super Bowl team,” and mentioned his deputies’ lack of training.  

Adding to the attraction of Sheriff Salazar, also in 2019, the Bexar County jail, as of September of that year, had mistakenly released 12 inmates from the jail, two of them within a 12-hour period. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff commented at the time, “He tells me he’s doing everything he can and I believe he’s trying but this many incidents over the last several months is unheard of.”

At a press conference that addressed the inmate releases, Javier Salazar unknowingly channeled a future Vice President and stated that, although there were investigations following every release, he was still looking into the “root cause” of why they were occurring.

Note to Gov. DeSantis, be on the lookout for Bexar County’s answer to Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

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