The Cleveland Advocate broke a story this Thursday that finally sheds some light on a drug case Sheriff Henry Patterson and his political team tried to hijack for the purpose of Patterson’s re-election bid. Within minutes of news that a civilian had led law enforcement to a large field of marijuana, Patterson’s people were bragging that this arrest would make Patterson a shoe in for re-election. Their effort to soak up all of the credit for this bust left their political geniuses scrambling when people started questioning whether the approach to the arrest was professional or if it was flawed because no arrests were made. Because of those questions, Patterson reacted to a local news reporter when asked about the whole thing by indicating he knew nothing about it. Since then Patterson’s spin machine has mostly promoted their defense of Patterson being involved in a big bust like this with no arrest by saying Patterson played a very small roll in this operation and he did not make operational decisions.
So now what..? After U.S. Attorney John M. Bales has announced that Roberto Bahena-Garcia was indicted on Jan. 25, 2012, and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Well now Patterson’s people are back to trying to spin this whole thing. Now they have decided Liberty Dispatch has been lying and they seem to be working their way back up to taking credit for the arrests- amazing, with the DEA as the investigating agency according to documents that caused the federal indictments.
Liberty Dispatch never was really sure why our very controversial County Sheriff would think that he deserved re-election based on this case. According to information presented in court, on Oct. 16, 2011, law enforcement officers received a tip that led them to a large outdoor and nascent indoor marijuana-growing operation in the rural area of Hull, Texas. A visit to the property revealed more than 1,000 maturing marijuana plants on 225 acres on Private Road 2055, but if this is the best thing we can expect from our sheriff we are in trouble. What about this case makes Patterson think people will forget three years of, at best, a lackluster performance as sheriff and a public relations effort that made people cringe for the first two years.
If convicted, Bahena-Garcia faces up to Life in federal prison and forfeiture of the property and I guess we can be glad Patterson doesn’t appear to have screwed that up by being so political and trying to claim honors for what appears to be very little work.
If his political machine had not tried to make him a hero, then the tagline on the story would have eventually read, “This case is being investigated by DHS/HSI, Liberty County Sheriff's Office and Texas Department of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.”
The Cleveland Advocate is very generous and takes law enforcement’s word when they share credit like this. Liberty Dispatch has never questioned this kind of division of credit up to now. But Patterson denied much of a role in this case when it looked like it was an arrest-free drug busts. We would suggest to our readers he should get the precise amount of credit he claimed at that time.
Stay tuned as Patterson’s political machine tries to twist and change minds as they are running a man that has decided he can pull in all kinds of outside help to try and make this community forget what we have seen from this sheriff for over three years. Instead of being consumed with the lives of other public figures like Joe Warren and a dozen or more other people his political team admits they have been “investigating”, Sheriff Patterson should be an early to work, late going home, visible, working lawman. If he wants to spin his political webs like we see coming out of Washington D.C., he needs to run for another office.
Liberty County has good hard working people “serving and protecting us”, but Henry Patterson and some of the reject captains he has hired are seldom counted in that group.