Houston, TX – A former Houston police officer was arrested on Tuesday after a convoluted criminal effort to try to prove a bogus voter fraud conspiracy in Harris County before the election.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release on Dec. 15 that former Houston Police Captain Mark Anthony Aguirre went to the authorities with allegations of a massive voter fraud plot that he said was underway in Harris County.
But court documents said that on Oct. 19, Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of a truck to force it to pull over, KRIV reported.
When the driver got out of his truck, Aguirre pointed a gun at him, forced him to the ground, and put a knee in his back, according to the court documents.
Bodycam captured Aguirre still kneeling on the man when officers arrived on the scene, according to KRIV.
Aguirre directed officers to a nearby parking lot where his accomplice had taken the man’s truck.
Instead, it was filled with air conditioning parts and tools because the man driving the truck was an HVAC technician.
Court documents showed that after he was arrested, Aguirre told investigators that he was part of a group of private citizens called “Liberty Center” who were conducting an investigation into the ballot scam.
Aguirre told police that he had been conducting surveillance on the driver of the truck for four days and believed he was the mastermind behind a huge ballot scheme, KRIV reported.
He also told police the man had 750,000 fraudulent ballots hidden in the back of his truck, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
There were no ballots in the truck when police found it, according to the district attorney’s press release.
But what Aguirre did not tell investigators at the time was that he was being paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, KRIV reported.
Prosecutors said Liberty Center deposited $211,400 in the former police captain’s account the day after he forced the air conditioning repair truck to the side of the road.
Houston police and the Harris County Election Security Task Force investigated the allegations the man had made, KTRK reported.
They determined that Aguirre’s election fraud claims were baseless, KRIV reported.
Houston police investigated the case and the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is handling the prosecution, according to the press release.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime, and we are lucky no one was killed,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “His alleged investigation was backward from the start – first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened.”
Aguirre, 63, was arrested on Dec. 15 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, KRIV reported.
The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, KTRK reported.
Aguirre is being held on a $30,000 bond.
KTRK reported that Aguirre was a Houston police officer for 24 years before he was indefinitely suspended in 2002 following a botched raid on a westside K-Mart.
His attorney called his arrest a political prosecution and said what happened was misrepresented in the charging documents, KTRK reported.
“I think it’s a political prosecution. I really do,” attorney Terry Yates said. “He was working and investigating voter fraud, and there was an accident. A member of the car got out and rushed at him and that’s where the confrontation took place. It’s very different from what you’re citing in the affidavit.”
Yates said that authorities started investigating Aguirre as soon as he brought his voter fraud concerns forward, instead of investigating the allegations.
An attorney for Liberty Center confirmed that Aguirre’s company was doing work for the organization but did not say in what capacity, KTRK reported.