Dallas County officials Tuesday confirmed an investigation is underway into a Deputy Constable’s role in the arrest and deportation of a woman, far from the deputy’s jurisdiction.
Trinidad Camacho, 54, was detained after a traffic stop in Oak Cliff on July 20 by Deputy Jeffrey Hubbard, an employee of Ray Nichols, the Constable for Precinct 2 which includes Garland and Mesquite on the opposite side of Dallas County.
The arrest and an interview with the officer were recorded on bystanders’ cellphones and posted on Facebook.
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“This is not about immigration. This is about the Constable being outside of his Precinct, doing things that are not within the purview of his duties,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county’s top elected official.
Critics of the arrest appeared at Dallas County Commissioners Court Tuesday to complain.
“We want to know how many of these situations have already occurred. So we’re looking to you the Commissioners Court,” said activist Leroy Pena.
“We also will not tolerate this predatory conduct of these Constables,” said activist Hilda Duarte.
Constables are independent elected officials who run their own offices, but Dallas County Commissioners set their budgets.
Money and manpower for Constable traffic enforcement was removed several years ago after a vehicle towing scandal.
Currently, Constables are funded only for serving Justice of the Peace Court papers and performing Bailiff duty in JP Courts, according to Jenkins.
Global Positioning Satellite equipment on county vehicles may help determine whether other deputies have performed similar tasks.
“We need to see if there are other cases in which the GPS shows they were doing this,” said Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia. “Our job as County Commissioners is to be sure that the funds are used specifically for County security and citations.”
Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement that said it was deportation officers with that agency who arrested Trinidad Camacho on immigration violations. The statement said the arrest was made by ICE Fugitive Operations Team members, suggesting Deputy Hubbard and Constable Nichols office are participating in that unit.
The statement said Camacho is a previously removed illegal alien from Mexico with a felony conviction for cocaine possession and a driving under the influence conviction. A federal immigration judge previously ordered her removal in 1999, according to ICE. An activist in touch with her family said Tuesday that Camacho has now been deported again.
“The question would be, why would we have a Constable outside his precinct doing traffic enforcement when they’re not funded for that,” Jenkins said.
Constable Nichols did not return a message left with an official in his office Tuesday for comment on this story.