"Of course that's not the norm, but it has happened before." stated Parrish.
This Monday, police in Harlington TX made what seemed to be a routine traffic stop for an expired tag and they uncovered much more than that. They stopped the woman on the 2300 block of East Harrison and she identified herself as Valerie Sanchez. The officer then asked the dispatcher to run her for arrest reports and the dispatcher then asked to verify the driver's name. It was then that they learned that her married name was Ortiz.
Having that for a married name isn't a crime but evidently, having 76 outstanding warrents and $18,986 in unpaid fines dating back to 1998 is. Ortiz, 31, was arrested on charges of having an expired registration, driving on an expired license and having no insurance and appeared in court Tuesday. Municipal Court Judge Valerie Garicia set bond at $1,000 for driving without a license and $1,500 as a minimum payment on the warrents.
Ortiz did get a break from Garcia, as she dismissed some of the warrents because they dated back so far. She left Ortiz with $15,696 in fines and fees to be paid. Sgt John Parrish stated that it is possible but unusual that someone could have that many warrents.
Evidently, in order to arrest someone on a municipal warrent, the officer must have a hard copy of it. If the arrest is made after court hours, they won't be able to get that copy and if they have made prior arrangements to pay off the fines and haven't done so, the warrents would have to be reissued.
Ortiz also had her license suspended on December 16 after she had been charged with driving while intoxicated. She will remain in the Cameron County Jail until she can come up with the minimum payment or the judge can decide to allow Ortiz to get credit for time served already. If she is able to make the minimum payment, she is expected to be released and make arrangements at a later date to pay off the remaining amount due.
At the rate that the police seem to have been unable to catch up with Ortiz when she is free from jail......... it may be a long time before they ever see the rest of that money from her possibly.