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Houston officer indicted for hiring illegal immigrants as armed guards

Associated Press Writer

HOUSTON- A Houston police officer and his father have been charged with hiring illegal immigrants and providing them with firearms while they worked as guards at their private security firm, U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced Friday.

David Rodriguez, a 14-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, along with his father Manuel Rodriguez were indicted on charges of conspiring to hire and arm illegal immigrants, falsifying forms during the purchase of firearms and engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.

The two men, indicted Wednesday, are co-owners of Bayou City Patrol Division, a private security company that provides armed security guard services to Houston area nightclubs, apartment buildings and private businesses.

Prosecutors said the Rodriguezes routinely hired illegal immigrants as security guards from 2000 to 2005 and lied on federal and state forms to get them firearms and security guard commissions.

David Rodriguez, 38, was relieved of duty after his arrest on Thursday, said Houston police spokesman John Cannon, adding that while no decision has been made, officers who are indicted or arrested are usually fired.

In October 2003, he was temporarily relieved of duty and later given a desk job, which he held until his arrest. Cannon did not have any information about why Rodriguez was relieved of duty.

Manuel Rodriguez, 65, is a retired U.S. Postal Service employee.

A telephone message left at their business was not immediately returned on Friday.

The two men made their initial court appearance on Friday. A detention hearing in their case was set for June 21.

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