Monday, January 17, 2005

Drugs Destroy Another Career

A young man practices and works for years to perfect his craft, and finally his dream starts to come true. A two-million-copy-selling record, four Grammy nominations ... and this jail and charges for drug-facilitated rape. It's the story of Ringo Garza of the Los Lonely Boys, as chronicled in this article in the Austin Statesman American. (registration required)

Garza and his two brothers were riding high, until Ringo and his wife Lenora were charged with a couple drug charges ... and drug-facilitated rape charges involving two women they picked up at a night club. Statesman American reporters Patrick Beach and Tony Plohetski pick up the story:

Officer Raymond Gallion had responded to a call from Shannon Medical Center and took initial statements from the women, whom he calls Jane Smith and Ann Smith in his police report. According to the report, both women told Gallion that they had been at Club Hypnotic -- a no-frills spot with bare concrete floors, a couple of well-worn pool tables and an area for tango dancing -- the night before and sat at a table with a group that included Ringo Garza and his wife, Lenora. After a few drinks, about 2 a.m., the Garzas invited the women to their home in the Country Club Lake Estates development in southern San Angelo.

Gallion called police detectives Walker and Jaime Padron, nine-year veterans of the force who were next up in the rotation to catch a case. Both detectives were dispatched to the hospital.

"The minute they told me Ringo Garza was involved, I just thought there could be serious ramifications involved for everybody, including this community," said Vasquez, a native of San Angelo.

"They are hometown heroes, and this community is very proud of their success," he said. "(They) put San Angelo on the map in a positive light."

Vasquez said the detectives interviewed the two women and staffers at Shannon, where rape exams were conducted, for several hours both at the hospital and at police headquarters. They decided that they had enough information to ask a judge for a search warrant, which a magistrate signed at 12:45 a.m. Jan. 6.

The warrants describe what the women told investigators about that night:

Somebody else was buying the drinks that Jane Smith and Ann Smith left unattended at the table. After a couple of hours, they caught a ride to the Garzas' home. A Chevy Tahoe and a vintage Pontiac GTO were in the driveway.

A half-hour after arriving, Jane Smith told police that she grew "extremely tired" and lost consciousness. Jane Smith said she later had a brief period of coherence during which a naked man was lying on top of her, face-to-face. She told investigators that she had consumed the same unspecified amount of alcohol before and had never become ill.

According to the warrant, Ann Smith gave a similar account. She said that after arriving at the Garzas' home, she lost consciousness. When she woke up, she realized she had vomited in a bed. She said she saw Jane Smith lying next to her, undressed from the waist down.

Lenora Garza drove the women back to their car at Club Hypnotic in the Tahoe. At about 5 a.m., Ann Smith called a friend to tell her that she and Jane Smith were too sick to drive. The two women went to the hospital later that day.

Twelve hours and 15 minutes after Lenora Garza dropped them off at the club, about 5:15 p.m., she called Jane Smith's cell phone and "checked on the girls and thanked them for coming to her residence the previous night," according to the search warrant.

By that point, presumably unknown to the Garzas, the investigation was up and going.

During the search of the Garzas' home, police seized dozens of items, which have been sent to a Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Lubbock for testing. They were looking for items such as Rohypnol, commonly known as the date-rape drug, and Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer. Vasquez said the results could be crucial in helping authorities determine whether additional charges will be filed.

"These cases are always difficult," said Vasquez, whose department responded to 133 reports of sexual assault last year. "A lot of cases come in as a 'he said, she said' type of deal. You have to look at every piece of evidence."

There's more so you'll probably want to read the entire article.

If it weren't for Garza's celebrity profile, this would be as trite as "Dog Bites Man." Women in a club who accept drinks from strangers, then leave them unattended. Predators using drugs to facilitate rape. And, if the Garzas are found guilty, two more lives ruined.

In my film, experts warn that if a friend can't stand after just one or two drinks, it's clear evidence she (or he!) has been drugged. It is imperative that their friends watch out for them -- and protect themfrom be preyed on by a sexual predator.

1 comment:

one_pissed_woman said...

i would like to say that these women are known "whores" in san angelo texas. its clear that they wanted money. thats why ALL charges were dropped. and because of these SLUTS, LLB's rep is forever tainted. they fled soon after these charges were filed, cause they knew they were lying. no rape was ever commited and they did drug testes on the girls and no drugs were found in their system. they were upset and demanded new tests. but because they could have easily taken drugs and went in they were denied. these women will get whats coming to them, and i hope one day they feel the pain the the garza family has felt. the truth will always be reviled.