Forty Texas Cops Rob a Strip Club

When Edinburg, Texas, annexed a portion of Hidalgo County in 2010 it inherited jurisdiction over the Jaguars Club in the process. Because strip clubs can operate only under very specific conditions in Edinburg, and because Jaguars Club does not comply with Edinburg's zoning policy, the city has been trying to get rid of it. The club's owners claim that they were grandfathered in during the annexation, and that as part of a harassment campaign, Edinburg police Chief Rolando Castañeda effectively robbed the place when an August 18 drug raid turned up no drugs.   

Forty of Castañeda's officers surrounded Jaguars. They turned off water to the building to keep drugs from being flushed, then went inside. According to The Monitor, Castañeda "perched himself outside, sitting in a lawn chair as his officers searched the establishment." They found no drugs, but that doesn't mean they left empty-handed:

The officers did not find any drugs inside the establishment — as was outlined in the search warrant — but took about $1,500 in cash and another $8,000 worth of club “tokens,” the lawsuit states. Such tokens generally serve as product-specific gift certificates.

Police zip-tied each person’s hands inside Jaguars that night and handcuffed Tony Hadaway, the club’s manager, the lawsuit states. Beyond taking the cash and club tokens, officers allegedly seized laptop and tablet computers, backpacks and one manager’s wallet.

Hadaway asked officers to keep an inventory list of the seized items, which “they declined to do and have never done,” the lawsuit states. A second manager’s wallet was seized and never returned.

When The Monitor asked the Edinburg city spokeswoman for comment about the suit that the club's owners have filed against the city, Irma Garza said, "We followed all the requirements of the law and because this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment.” 

For more on police and prosecutors' license to steal, see Radley Balko on the forfeiture racket

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  • sarcasmic||

    At least nobody's dog was shot.

  • Surly Chef||

    Because no dog was present?

  • O2||

    why do the police in edinburg hate single mothers?

  • Spencer||

    They're just trying to pay their way through community college.

  • He said, They said||

    Riggs: "They turned off water to the building to keep drugs from being flushed."

    Linked article: "They allegedly turned off the water before entering the club, looking for drugs."

    Quick: Who's the real journalist?

  • Note To Self||

    Remember to keep a bucket full of water next to the toilet in order to flush in such an emergency!

  • steve||

    I'm no plumber (but I've laid a bit of pipe in my day, amiright fellas, amiright? badupdup), but even if you shut off the water, a toilet's got one good flush--that's what the tank does.

  • ||

    Unless they're commercial toilets that have no tank. I think they rely on piped-in water (and compressed air?) for each flush . . .

  • JohnG||

    boo... no alt-text

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's there. My complaint is that given the subject matter, a better pic could have been chosen.

    As always, YMMV.

  • ||

    Baked Penguin gets my vote for new Reason editor

  • ||

    It's good to be the king.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I hope the tokens were serialized so that the owner can see when the cops come into his club to redeem them. That would be awesome.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Some saying about power and corruption comes to mind, but I can't quite remember it.

  • Greer||

    is it... fuck the pigs?

  • ||

    seizure of any item without inventory pursuant to search warrant is prima facie unreasonable imo. i'd be strongly surprised if it's not a requirement of texas law, and if it is not - texas law needs some fixin'

  • Joe M||

    Exactly. If what they were supposedly expecting in their search warrant was not discovered, game over.

  • ||

    no, that's not the same thing

    inventory requirement means you need to inventory and provide the person with a receipt for shit you seize

    it does not mean you can only seize stuff listed as target of the search warrant

    *if*

    the other items seized are "immediately recognizable as contraband"

    if they aren't, you need to get a warrant to seize THEM generally speaking

  • BakedPenguin||

    If a LE Office develops a history of raids with seized, non-listed contraband from warrants with other items on them, at what point is action taken? IOW, at what point is the decision made that they're going on fishing expeditions, and reform is necessary. Also, who makes that decision?

  • Another great example||

    of how the police are mindless robots. It isn't their fault that they didn't use common sense to keep an inventory, or done it just for the sake of building a reputation for trustworthiness in the community...it's the fault of the legislature for not "fixin" Texas law correctly.

    Apparently, unless they are SPECIFICALLY TOLD not to do something shady, they will, and we should not have any greater expectation from them.

  • Joe M||

    The last part is what I meant. Without finding anything illegal, what right to they have to confiscate cash and computers? None!

  • sarcasmic||

    what right to they have to confiscate cash and computers?

    They've all got guns and have many more men with guns at their beck and call.

    Might makes right and they know it. It's their job.

  • ||

    And you can't possibly defend yourself and your property without criminal repercussions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Criminal repercussions?
    Defend yourself and your property from the police and there's a good chance you'll end up dead.

  • ||

    Criminal percussion, most likely.

  • ||

    what is criminal percussion?

    a poorly tuned snare drum?

  • Dave||

    Criminal percussion is what cops used to call 'tuning up a suspect' and what the rest of us refer to as 'being beaten like Rodney King'.

  • ||

    ""a poorly tuned snare drum?""

    Yes!

  • ||

    still upset you were justifiably prosecuted and convicted, sarcasmic?

    still living in your fantasy world devoid of real world use of force facts and statistics.

    apparently so...

  • ||

    Ah, that's a comfort. Those laptops and wallets and cash can't be used as evidence in a prosecution.

    The problem is, how do the owners of the seized property compel its return and how are the thieves-who-happened-to-be-wearing-badges going to be deterred from doing this again? That's quite a pickle. I wonder if the local DA is willing to charge them with theft if they don't return it. (har dee har)

  • ||

    I mean, the poisoned tree doctrine only works as deterrent if the police are planning to prosecute. If the intent is merely to harass, it's no deterrent at all.

  • ||

    that is an important and valid point

  • jimmy hat||

    "the poisoned tree doctrine"

    the prevailing method in alabama

  • vector1369||

    Ever wonder how cops in Texas btch about being paid so poorly while they drive around in $50,000 POVs? $45k/yr goes alot further than anyone thought.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    Isn't seizure without an inventory of what was seized a violation of due process? How are you supposed to defend yourself against the state's accusations if you don't even know what they took as evidence against you?

  • ||

    Oh, I'm sure you can attempt to sue the police for violating your civil rights. Have fun with that.

  • vector1369||

    Texas law lets the police seize anything they think *might* be connected to a crime. In the case of money, valuables, etc, the burden of proof falls is "preponderence of evidence" so it falls to the citizen to prove that they were "more likely innocent than guilty." Good luck winning that argument when the locals have laws forbidding your business and you only survive by what they deem a "technicality."

    Regarding inventory, it is a procedural requirement for officers to inventory items seized but there is no real way to force police departments to comply. There is no audit mechanism to ensure that the PD's stated inventory is accurate. And city attorneys will fight releasing any document they deem related to an "ongoing criminal investigation," anyway.

    So you said it, Texas law needs some fixin'

  • Joe M||

    WTF? I understand the police can take basically anything they want if they find a crumb of mj, but what justification was there for this, exactly?

    "We followed all the requirements of the law and because this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment.”

    What investigation is ongoing??? If there were no drugs found at the raid, what the hell else is there to do? This bullshit is beyond blatant.

  • ||

    You've got it backwards - or sideways, whatever. The investigation is into the cops ripping off the club during the raid. See, it was all a setup by the DA to get dirty cops to incriminate themselves.

    Otherwise, the citizens of Edinburg are fucked.

  • ||

    ""See, it was all a setup by the DA to get dirty cops to incriminate themselves.""

    ""http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/14/2011-09-14_cop_probed_in_ticketfixing_tried_to_commit_suicide_in_subway_ahead_of_being_call.html""

    And he wasn't facing charges.

  • ||

  • Applederry||

    Before you freak out, remember, it's only the 1% of bad cops that give the rest of them a bad name.

    I'm assuming Edinburgh has at least a 4,000 strong police force, of course.

    And just by chance, all 40 happened to be in that 1%.

    That's what happened here, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    You've got it backwards.
    It's 99% of cops who give the rest a bad name.

    These were the nice 1%. How do we know? No shots were fired.

  • ||

    Most law enforcement people are upstanding in executing their duties (and they welcome and sometimes even insist on surveillance). - Nick Gillespie

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • sarcasmic||

    Whenever I hear how there is a high divorce rate for police and the stress of the job being blamed, I can only think that there is probably a high divorce rate among control freak assholes regardless of their chosen occupation.

  • ||

    ROTFLMAO

  • dumphy||

    nice try, but wrong.

    the divorce rate among cops is high because we fuck every suspect, eyewitness, waitress that we find. and if they don't sleep with us, we make their lives terrible.

  • ||

    troll-o-meter: .01

  • Common Sense||

    After that comment, Troll-o-meter: 1.00

  • ||

    ""Most law enforcement people are upstanding in executing their duties (and they welcome and sometimes even insist on surveillance). - Nick Gillespie""

    When I was in the Marines, I heard of the 10% rule. 10% will be fuck-ups. Having that 10% isn't as much of a negative factor compared to what do you do with the 10%. LEOs are often quick to rally behind the 10% in the name of brotherhood. If that's the game the other 90% want to play, then you have a problem with 100%.

    Any quality organization will do everything it can to get rid of that 10%. Of course with the police the PBA helps keep the 10% in uniform.

  • ||

    You assume that all 40 of those cops liked what they were doing. But as Reason has covered, cops that don't put up and shut up about doing things they find outside the scope of what they should be doing get harrassed or worse. We can all say that we would be one of those guys that would say fuck no under pressure, but I think past events indicate that most of us would probably fold under the pressure.

  • Then maybe||

    they shouldn't stay in a line of work that puts them in such positions? They're only too happy to take the paycheck, no matter what mental anguish they're going through. Oh, how noble.

  • O2||

    dude in this economy, a job is a job cop or no.

  • O2||

    its all good tho obama has a great [JOBZ] plan

  • ||

    I feel my brain cells die every time you post a comment.

  • robc||

    Did they arrest the bad cops? No? Then they are bad cops.

  • Applederry||

    I can excuse an LEO for not speaking out due to fear of reprisal. Being targeted for harassment can easily destroy your life, police harassment especially so.

    However, I don't see any excuse for remaining on a corrupt force. If you can take the taxpayer's paycheck you take the responsibility as well.

    The only exception I can think of being to stay on to be an anonymous whistle blower to their activities. But as Renton has taught us, you probably won't last long anyways.

  • ||

    at first they came for the something, and I didn't something because I wasn't something or something..

  • ||

    I could see a good cop going along with the search just to get along, but seizing all that property with absolutely no evidence of a crime? No.

    If you take someone's laptop with no evidence of its being used in a crime, you're a bad cop. Period. And to take that many of them implies that a lot of the 40 cops were not merely silently complicit but active in the theft.

  • Gojira||

    Well according to our good friend up there, it has nothing to do with being "bad cops", rather it is again the nefarious legislature which failed to foresee that it's police would be brutally corrupt, and pass the appropriate laws to prevent such an occurance.

  • ||

    actually,i said no such thing. try some better reading comprehension

    i said i had no idea what texas law has to say about it, but texas law SHOULD say that if you take something in a search warrant, you provide a receipt to the subject of the warrant

    hth

  • Gojira||

    My apologies, you did specify that IF there is no such law, there should be.

    Implying that the police cannot be trusted to behave properly on their own, and must have laws passed to prevent them from doing scum-bag things.

    It's a miracle they don't crap themselves if the legislature doesn't specify a time for them to use the restroom.

  • ||

    i don't think it necessarily implies this. i think it's merely part and parcel ofdue process.

    my state landlord/tenant code requires a landlord to give a tenant a receipt for rent paid

    it doesn't imply landlords are crooked. it just gives the tenant the right to get proof he paid rent, for obvious reasons.

    it seems common sense that if the police are going to seize a bunch of your shit pursuant to a search warrant, they provide you a receipt of same.

  • ||

    imo, that's pretty weak

    ATFPAPIRIT, what the cops did was fucked up.

    i can't state definitively it was a law violation, because i don't know texas law.

    but imo cops should not take anything in a search warrant without giving the subjects of the warrant a receipt and they should not take items that are not contraband without justification, which they apparently did not have

  • Virginia||

    Is the new police chief working for a competitor?

  • Spencer||

    Whenever I read about stuff like this in Texas, I think I understand (just a little bit) how a black dude feels the moment the news shows the wanted poster shot and it's another black dude.

  • ||

    Because you are a stripper?

  • ||

    You mean as opposed to his own picture?

    Because that's the first thing I think when I see a WANTED poster.

    "It's not me! Got lucky again."

    English can be a rather imprecise language...

  • Apatheist||

    The point is he may be able to identify himself but the cops/eye-witnesses are less capable.

  • Annoying White Guy||

    Wait, so black people think black people look alike too???

  • Oosik||

    Snatching gold chains - vicking pieces of eight
    I got your money and your honey and the fly name plate
    We got wenches on the benches - and bitties with titties
    Housing all girlies from city to city

    Ali Baba and the forty thieves
    Ali Baba and the forty thieves
    Ali Baba and the forty thieves

  • ||

    Hadaway asked officers to keep an inventory list of the seized items, which “they declined to do and have never done,”

    "What? Don't you trust us?"

  • Hector Rodriguez||

    This is the Patriot Act in full effect. No probable cause needed! No proper evidence. All you need is a badge, a gun and the will to turn your back on the constitution, that you swore an oath to protect, and invade someones home or business. If I did that, I would be guilty of armed robbery, theft, breaking and entering and a slew of other charges getting me 15 to 20 in the slammer. I doubt this guy will get so much as an apology...

  • ||

    the poisoned tree doctrine only works as deterrent if the police are planning to prosecute. If the intent is merely to harass, it's no deterrent at all.

    No kidding.

    A carefully orchestrated headline-generating statewide raid on "rogue" medical marijuana providers, timed to coincide with a vote in the Montana legislature, resulted in wholesale destruction of product, seizure of cash, bank accounts, vehicles and a few legally owned guns, has resulted in (so far as I have ever heard) no charges.

    Why waste a lot of time and money fooling around with the court system when you can just do smash-and-grab attacks?

  • sarcasmic||

    Perks.

    Food service workers get cheap or free food.
    Work in a theater and watch movies for free.

    Work in administering justice and you're free to commit injustices, because you're the guy they go to when an injustice is committed against them.

  • INFORG||

    Id just add total incompetence by these cops to the mix. I mean, if you can't find ANY sign of drugs at a freaking strip club, you ain't trying very hard.

  • Mensan||

    No shit, right? Every stripper I have ever known has had a major drug habit.

  • Jeff P||

    Cops rob strip club.

    Or as we call it, "Tuesday."

  • ||

    That's not fair. I doubt cops regularly take anything beyond certain services rendered from the staff.

  • Matt||

    yay texas............................................................

  • ||

    here's a hint. it's called good journalism

    affidacits for search warrants are GENERALLY public record. quite often, even available online

    this article would be made a LOT better with instead of just he said/she said crap (the strip club owner claims... bla bla) we also had an actual copy of the warrant affidavit and/or warrant so we know exactly what the warrant WAS for, the alleged facts used to get it, etc?

    that would be immensely helpful. it wouldn't help the kneejerk reasonoid bigots, but for those that wish to be informed BEFORE forming opinion, it would be nice

  • Coeus||

    Speaking of being informed BEFORE forming an opinion, did you ever find out what that boat thief in Washington's autopsy report listed as a cause of death? You know, the one you were using as proof that excited delirium wasn't just made up to cover the asses of government employees? BEFORE the autopsy was available?

    I mean, it wouldn't help the kneejerk cops-know-best bigots, but for those that wish to be informed BEFORE forming an opinion, it would be nice.

  • ||

    can you give me a link or something, because i am drawing a blank about which case you are referring to

  • Coeus||

    The theif's name was Dylan Thomas Jones. He was 23 and it occured in Snohomish County near Everett. And I just checked, no excited delirium. Death ruled homicide, cause was asphyxia due to compression of the neck.

  • ||

    The warrant/affidavit is part of an ongoing investigation.

  • rperry||

    fucking pussy texans ought to arm themselves to fight off criminals like real men

  • Coeus||

    fucking pussy texans ought to arm themselves to fight off criminals like real men


    We've were seriously considering it, but then the Feds gave them armored personnel carriers and fully automatic weapons.

  • cynical||

    That's what IEDs are for.

  • ||

    Something is VERY fishy here! A strip club with NO drugs??? I call BS.

  • steve||

    If I was forced to participate in this raid, I would have at least called 'strippers!'

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Ah. You'd be a natural for strip-searching.

  • Ryan||

    This is what happens when treaties get signed, whatever rights you swore you had gets vaporized and the first tier enforcers run rampant.

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