Ex-South Texas Judge Accused of Accepting Bribes

A South Texas justice of the peace who resigned in early October has been indicted on bribery, money laundering and organized criminal activity counts.

Ismael "Melo" Ochoa was charged Thursday in Hidalgo County and released on a $40,000 personal recognizance bond.

Ochoa served 24 years before his Oct. 10 resignation. He didn't say why he was quitting.

Ochoa didn't immediately comment on the investigation into bonds allegedly lowered, since 2010, for some defendants. Prosecutors say bribes allegedly were paid by a bail bondsman linked to drug cases.

The 68-year-old Ochoa remains unopposed on Tuesday's ballot, even though Hidalgo County commissioners have already named a replacement. Penitas (puh-NEE'-t's) Mayor Marcos Ochoa is not related to the former JP.

Ismael Ochoa agreed to decline the judicial job if he's re-elected.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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