Texas Border City Newspaper Wrongly Ties Attorney to Murder


A Texas newspaper wrongly claimed a local attorney leaked the name of a government informant. That informant was later murdered in 2007 by his own criminal organization. However, the allegations published by the publication are erroneous, federal law enforcement officials revealed to Breitbart Texas.

The issue first came to light on February 10, when The Monitor from McAllen published a story claiming that local attorney Terry Palacios had been responsible for disclosing that a former local leader of the Texas Syndicate prison gang named Marcelino Rodriguez had been working as a government informant. Gang members killed that informant in July 2007. Since that time, three gang members tied to the murder received life sentences. Officials also found the man who actually leaked the informant’s identity and sent him to prison.

While the case has been closed for several years and no significant developments have taken place, the story caused much controversy as Palacios is a heated democratic primary in South Texas. The story has been used by political opponents in various attack ads and on social media.

Breitbart Texas obtained an exclusive interview with Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Wells who handled the Rodriguez case and several others tied to a major takedown of the Texas Syndicate. The prosecutions spanned approximately ten years and led to the imprisonment of several key gangsters — many receiving life sentences.

When asked about the allegations linking Palacios to the murder, Wells said the totality of the evidence, court cases, and investigations did not support that.

“If there had been sufficient evidence showing that Mr. Palacios had done that, I would have indicted and prosecuted him,” Wells said.

The allegations printed by the local newspaper are based on a trial transcript from the case against several Texas Syndicate members. In the document, a federal agent claimed that Palacios had leaked the name. However, when asked about it, Wells said the information came from two Texas Syndicate members whose information could not be corroborated.

Court documents and testimony revealed the individual who leaked the information and supplied the gang members with a copy of a sealed document, called a form 5k1, was Joel Carcano, an employee of the law firm where Palacios practiced. According to Wells, Carcano had prior connections with the gang members. The investigation revealed that he acted alone and for personal gain. Federal authorities prosecuted Carcano who received a little over four years in prison for having leaked the information.

Breitbart Texas interviewed criminal defense attorney C.J. Quintanilla, who is a law partner of Palacios. According to Quintanilla’s recollection of the case, federal authorities had obtained Title 3 wiretap warrants. This enabled them to learn about the plot to kill Rodriguez by the gang. Having been warned, federal officials tried to get him to leave the region.

“The wiretaps allowed them (federal authorities) to know everything about the case,”  Quintanilla said. “That is why they knew who leaked the information.”

However, the victim ignored the information and met with two gang members at a McAllen restaurant. Ultimately, the gangsters killed the victim and left him inside his vehicle which was later torched in a rural area.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at     

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