Poisoned Pawns Investigation into Public Corruption: Three Part Series

As many of you already know I have been working on connecting the dots between many individuals, the public corruption scandals and the drug violence in Juárez for many years. I have been creating a time line of events going as far back as the 1960’s. I have also been creating many link charts of the various allegations of public corruption, the public policy agendas for the city and the connections between various individuals and Juárez events. I have previously written about how I believe the drug violence in Juárez is connected to El Paso corruption. Some of you have criticized me for this assertion. However, if you look at the time lines of events and the link charts a pattern begins to emerge. I am far from completing my research, however I wanted to share some information that I have compiled so far.

You will remember that back in June of 2007, Travis Ketner, a former politician, attorney and chief of staff for Anthony Cobos pleaded guilty to public corruption. From that court proceeding emerged a document called an “information” detailing a set of public corruption conspiracies involving nineteen individuals, seventeen men and two women plus two companies. Except for Travis Ketner everyone else, including the company names were labeled with pseudonyms.

Immediately everyone started playing “connect-the-dots” trying to identify the various individuals named in the Ketner information. From that original list emerged about 40 individuals who have pleaded guilty to various public corruption offenses.

Unfortunately, many of the court case files still remain sealed therefore there is still much information that we do not know yet. However, I have been able to piece together enough information to produce a detailed link chart listing the various players in the schemes.

For those that still do not believe there exists a link between the public corruption in El Paso and the drug violence in Juárez, take a moment to consider what FBI Agent in Charge David Cuthbertson stated when asked about the Poisoned Pawns operation. Cuthbertson stated that the operation began as a result of an FBI agent being transferred from a drug task force to public corruption whose informants tipped him off to public corruption in El Paso.

Today, I’m going to share with you what I believe are the identities of the various “John Co-conspirators” in the original information. Tomorrow, I’ll publish the full link-chart in an infographic so that you can see the various linkages between all of the various players and conspiracies. On Thursday, I’ll update the “Johns” and “Janes” in a where are they now list. Keep in mind two things as you go down the list.

The first is that the judge in the case quoted a telephone tap where Larry Medina was thanked for the corruption he did at the city. So far, no city officials have been indicted. Also, remember that Sal Mena was admonished by the judge to come clean with further information he knew about public corruption before ordering Mena into suicide watch after sentencing him to prison. You might also note that the information named names that were not indicted. In tomorrow’s link chart you will see how everything fits together.

Here is the list of individuals in the Ketner Information: (I took the original wording and added the names of the individuals I believe have been identified.)

1. Defendant John Travis Ketner was an attorney licensed in the state of Texas.

2. Luther Jones (JohnCC-1) was an attorney licensed in the state of Texas and a solo practitioner with a small law office who was active in assisting individuals in campaigns for local elected office.

3. David Escobar (JohnCC-2) was an attorney licensed in the state of Texas with a small law office who associated himself, in some matters, with Luther Jones as a business partner or co-counsel.

4. Martie Jobe (JaneCC-1) was an attorney licensed in the state of Texas with a small law office who was a close personal friend of Luther Jones and associated herself with him in some business matters.

5. Betty Flores (JaneCC-2) was a successful candidate for local elected county office, assisted in her campaign efforts by Luther Jones.

6. Gilbert Sanchez (JohnCC-3) was a county elected official assisted in his campaign efforts by Luther Jones.

7. Fernando Parra (JohnCC-4), a close personal friend of Luther Jones, who resided in an apartment owned by Luther Jones, was a former employee of Gilbert Sanchez.

8. Anthony Cobos (JohnCC-5) was a recently elected county official.

9. Lorenzo Aguilar (JohnCC-6) was a vendor who had secured a contract with the county of El Paso prior to the election of Anthony Cobos.

10. Arturo Duran (JohnCC-7) was a member of the Board of Directors of R.E. Thomason Hospital, whose appointment was made by Betty Flores.

11. Roger Garza (JohnCC-8) was a vendor seeking a contract with the county of El Paso to provide the Actuarial and Dental Services.

12. James D. “Jim” Dannenbaum (JohnCC-9) was a vendor seeking construction contracts with the county of El Paso.

13. Roberto “Bobby” Ruiz  (JohnCC-10) was the representative of a vendor, which, with the assistance of Anthony Cobos, had secured a contract with the county of El Paso as the bond underwriter for refinancing of certain county debt.

14. Christopher Chol-Su Pak aka Chris Pak (JohnCC-11) was a co-worker of Roberto “Bobby” Ruiz and employee of the same vendor who had secured the bond underwriting contract for county debt.

15. Raymond Telles (JohnCC-12) was an attorney licensed in the state of Texas who had secured a contract, assisted by Anthony Cobos, in conjunction with Roberto “Bobby” Ruiz and Christopher Chol-Su Pak aka Chris Pak to be underwriter’s counsel for the county debt refinancing.

16. Luis Sariñana (JohnCC-13) was an elected county official, whose campaign was assisted by Luther Jones.

17. Miguel Teran (JohnCC-14) was an elected county official whose campaign was assisted by Luther Jones.

18. Ruben “Sonny” Garcia (JohnCC-15), was the owner of a vendor, LKG, who was under contract with the County of El Paso to manage over nine million dollars in federal grant money provided to the County for the El Paso Border Children’s Mental Health Collaborative.

19. Valley Risk Consulting  (VRC) was a consulting firm with offices located outside of El Paso, Texas, whose owner, John CC-8, was seeking, on behalf of VRC, a contract with El Paso County, valued at approximately $75,000, for the El Paso County Actuarial and Dental Services.

20. Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation (DC) was a construction firm with offices located outside of El Paso, Texas, whose owner, James D. “Jim” Dannenbaum, was seeking, on behalf of Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation, future, construction contracts with El Paso County.

In tomorrow’s link chart you will be able to see how each of the various crimes fit together with all of the individuals. You will also see how a few companies are connected to the events and continue to do government work.

One thought on “Poisoned Pawns Investigation into Public Corruption: Three Part Series

  1. In your #13, it actually was Veronica Escobar who assisted Ruiz in obtaining the refinance contract. Please recall that Ruiz stated: “Veronica is the only one I can trust”.

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