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Laredo Morning Times

Thursday, May 13, 1999

LOCAL/STATE

Chamber holds early chat session

Times staff reports In celebration of Chamber of Commerce Week, the Laredo organization hosted a "breakfast chat" Wednesday to familiarize current and prospective members with the local group. "We want for them to see what the chamber does for them," said Robert Eads, Laredo Chamber of Commerce special projects manager. The main role of the local chamber, said Eads, is to promote Laredo businesses through different projects, including the Vision Conference, Laredo Xtravaganza in Monterrey, Bola Blanca, Cola Blanca, etc. The organization also is actively working to improve Laredo by focusing on business development and general commerce.

DAILY CALENDAR

Thursday, May 13 J. W. Nixon Class of '79 will meet at El Taco Tote at 7 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 4120 San Bernardo at noon and 8 p.m. CH.A.D.D. (Children And Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders) is a non-profit organization and meets first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Treatment Center, 6410 McPherson. The Los Amigos Bridge Club meets on Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. at the Northeast Recreation Center, 320 Wyoming at McPherson Rd. For information call Beverly Cantu at 727-0589. Texas Migrant Council, Inc. is now registering migrant children ages 2 through 5, for Head Start services. The agency also provides services to children with disabilities who meet the program qualifications. For more information or an appointment, call 7226952.

Times staff photo by EDDIE RIOS

BREAKFAST CHAT: Gil Lopez, chairman of the board for the Laredo Chamber of Commerce, third from left, welcomes chamber members, from left, Brad Sledge, Paty Orduna, Lopez, Sonia Quick, Jorge Gonzalez and Miguel Conchas, president, during a breakfast chat Wednesday morning.

Ex-sheriff files to get conviction overturned

BY JOHN SEVIGNY Times staff writer An ex-Hidalgo County sheriff who took more than $150,000 in bribes to let inmates have special privileges wants his conviction overturned because he claims the wrong federal agency investigated his crimes. In July 1994, a jury in Laredo found Brig Marmolejo guilty of eight conspiracy, bribery and money laundering charges. U.S. District Judge George Kazen sentenced him to seven years in prison. An appeal by the former lawman was shot down. The Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration gathered the evidence that led to Marmolejo's conviction, Jose Angel Moreno, the assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case said. But now Marmolejo is arguing that the DEA overstepped its jurisdiction by taking part in the probe, since the case had nothing to do with drugs. He also is criticizing the prosecution's use of a cooperating witness who they claim lied on the stand. A Houston prosecutor has asked a federal judge to throw out Marmolejo's motion, but declined to comment further on the matter. In her 17-page response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alice Ann Burns said Marmolejo should have raised the DEA issue long ago. "Marmolejo could have raised these issues on appeal but did not," the government's motion reads in part. According to the motion, the DEA was involved because the investigation that led to the former sheriff's arrest started as a drug probe. The case against Marmolejo began after a drug defendant who was in custody at the Hidalgo County jail told federal investigators that he had received special privileges in exchange for cash. For $6,000 per month and $1,000 per visit, Marmolejo allowed the defendant to have private visits with his wife and girlfriend in his office and in the jail library.

House passes housing help bill

Times staff reports A bill allowing low-income individuals to build or repair a home through a new loan assistance program, passed the state's House Tuesday and is on its way to the Senate. House Bill 3315 would direct the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to enter into agreements with private construction supply companies and non-profit housing organizations to provide interim construction loans. The state agency would guarantee a percentage of the loan for the individual.

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