A Willacy County grand jury indicted several high-profile public officials on Monday including Vice President Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr.
The indictment charges Cheney with illegally profiting, by virtue of his office, from $85 million in investments in the Vanguard Group. The group invests in companies that house federal detainees. He also is charged with exerting pressure on how much prisons are paid to house detainees.
For now, Cheney's office did not comment. "I haven't seen the indictment," Cheney's spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said Tuesday, indicating that it would be reviewed.
The indictment further alleges that Gonzales used his position to stop investigations into assaults committed in the private prison managed by the GEO Group in Willacy County.
The GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corp., was also indicted on murder charges involving the 2001 death of an inmate killed in a Raymondville prison. The indictment accuses GEO of allowing inmates to beat Gregorio De La Rosa Jr., 33, of Laredo, to death with padlocks stuffed into socks.
"There are a lot of wild things in the Valley, but this is by far the wildest . . . It's crazy," GEO's attorney David Oliveira said.
Outgoing Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra dismissed a three-count indictment against GEO earlier this month because it was improperly filed.
Lucio is charged with profiting from public office when he acted as a consultant for Management and Training Corp., CorPlan Corrections, Aguirre Inc., Hale Mills Corp., TEDSI Infrastructure Group, Inc., and Dannenbaum Engineering Corp. The indictment against Lucio reflects that he would have not been paid consulting fees were it not for his public office.