EDINBURG, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Texas mayor has been arrested on charges of trying to rig his own 2017 election victory, prosecutors say.
Mayor Richard Molina of Edinburg, near the U.S.-Mexico border, appeared in court Thursday facing felony charges that include illegal voting.
His wife, Dalia Molina, was arrested on similar charges.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the mayor organized a scheme to have voters change their addresses so they could cast ballots for him. Edinburg is a city of about 90,000 people and is the headquarters of Border Patrol operations in the Rio Grande Valley.
Molina won his race by about 1,200 votes.
City spokeswoman Cary Zayas says the mayor “very adamantly” denies wrongdoing.
Paxton says 18 people have been arrested since last year in connection with the alleged voting scheme in Edinburg.
“My office is appreciative of the many witnesses who have come forward and cooperated with the investigation, explaining how they were lured by an ambitious candidate into participating in an illegal voting scheme to elect Richard Molina,” District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)