Ex Falfurrias Cop Pleads Guilty to Taking Drugs

Booking Photo of Emiliano Canales

FALFURRIAS–A decorate ex-police officer known for his drug busts on Highway 281 plead guilty today to taking more than 100 pounds of marijuana from the Falfurrias Police Department.

Emiliano Canales, 41, plead guilty to possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence, burglary of a building and engaging in criminal activity. It’s expected he will be sentenced to 10 years in prison when he is formally sentenced.

The drugs went missing in October of 2008 after a major drug bust. About 1,500 pounds of marijuana were seized during a traffic stop in Falfurrias.

Police officers said Canales, who was on suspension at the time, used a key he had to go into the police department and remove more than 100 pounds of marijuana worth about $80,000. It’s believed the drugs were sold.

“I am sadden this happened, but I am also relieved I am able to close this chapter,” said Falfurrias Police Chief Eden Garcia. ” I felt like this case was dragging on and on, but I happy he decided to plead guilty.”

Residents and town leaders were up in arms when the drugs were taken right out of the city office.

The Texas Rangers were called in to investigate. They along with the Falfurrias Police investigators determined it was an inside job because there were no signs of a break-in.

Law enforcement officers  identified Canales as the suspect six months later. They also believed his son, Isaac Canales, 19, helped him out. Both were arrested in March of 2009.

City leaders were critical of the Falfurrias Police investigators and some even asked for the chief to resign for taking a long time to arrest the father and son.   

“I knew as a cop I had to stick to my guns with the way we handled this investigation,” Chief Garcia said. “It may not have pleased the public or the City Council, but I had to do what was right and it worked out.”

Canales will be sentenced at a later date, meanwhile his son is still in the Brooks County Jail. Isaac Canales’ case is still active and he is working on a plea deal with prosecutors.

–Manuel De La Rosa, South Texas Tribune, southtexastribune@gmail.com

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