Congressman wants answers after fugitive released - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Congressman wants answers after fugitive released

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas congressman wants to know why the State Department released a fugitive wanted in Mexico and in Smith County. 

Hector Hernandez Javier Villarreal is a former Mexican official wanted for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars. He was arrested earlier this month during a traffic stop February 1, but the State Department ordered authorities to let him go. 

Now, Congressman Louie Gohmert is demanding congressional hearings to find out what happened. 

In Wednesday's hearing, Congressman Gohmert questioned why a fugitive wanted by the Mexican authorities for embezzlement was granted an investment visa to enter America. 
He was then ordered released by the State Department after being arrested in Smith County just two weeks ago. 

"Why in the world would a State Department direct the release of people from whom there were warrants out in our neighbor country," said Congressman Gohmert during Wednesday's hearing. "Supposedly they want them to be a law and order country in Mexico, so I'm open to any suggestions on how to keep this fiasco from happening."

Villarreal is scheduled to soon be arraigned in a Smith County courtroom. 

He was arrested on February 1 during a traffic stop after authorities found a shotgun and nearly $70,000 in what investigators say was laundered money. But, since the State Department ordered his release, the prosecution of this case is now in question. 

"As people would imagine, if we don't have the defendant present in court after indictment then we can't proceed with the trial. If the State Department extradites them to Mexico then I think prosecution would be impossible. We couldn't get them back for our trial," said Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham. 
      
Congressman Gohmert says he's requested the Inspector General to investigate what went wrong with this case.

"There are a number of places the ball was dropped. And then of course it does make you wonder where this shotgun came from, could it have had any part in the Fast and Furious program that would have triggered interest from some of the federal entities. So there are a number of issues here, not to mention the big issue of where are they now?" said Congressman Gohmert. 

A question Mexican and American authorities would like answered. In the meantime, Congressman Gohmert says he'll continue to push for congressional hearings for this unusual case. 

According to authorities, Villarreal was granted an investment visa under a program that allows foreigners in if they invest $500,000 in a business venture. 

Now, Congressman Gohmert says he's questioning the director of immigration services, asking if people can simply buy their way into America.

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