The husband of an Erath County juvenile probation officer was arrested Saturday after allegedly impersonating an undercover peace officer and threatening individuals with a pistol.
According to Chief Investigator Donnie Hensley with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office, Arturo Ruiz Espinosa, 27, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following an incident that occurred around 7 p.m. March 22 on FM 219.
Hensley said a call was made to 911 to report a disturbance at a horse track less than a mile outside of Dublin. The caller said there was an individual wielding a gun and a badge and attempting to arrest individuals engaged in a physical altercation at a horse-racing event.
“The suspect had allegedly acquired a badge and pistol and tried to arrest people during a fight,” Hensley said.
Hensley said officers with the Dublin Police Department first responded to the call and secured the scene by stopping horse race attendees at the gate and questioning them about the incident. Deputies and troopers with the Department of Public Safety later responded.
“There was only one way in and one way out of the track,” Hensley said. “The officers did a good job of questioning everyone that was coming and going from the event.”
Despite the call for help, Hensley said no witnesses came forward to give statements. Just days later, however, Sgt. Bob Gonzales located three witnesses who identified Espinosa as the alleged assailant and said the suspect held a pistol to one of their heads while posing as an undercover officer with a badge.
Hensley said the suspect’s wife, Sandra Espinosa, told investigators that her husband had taken the badge from her automobile. According to www.tjpc.state.tx.us, the Web Site for the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Espinosa is an employee of the Erath County Juvenile Probation Office. A call to Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Dale Warren for comment was not returned as of press time.
Gonzales obtained sworn statements from the witnesses and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The pistol has not been located. Sheriff Tommy Bryant said anyone with information about the case should contact the sheriff’s office at 965-3338. Bryant said tipsters can remain anonymous.
Espinosa remains incarcerated at the Erath County Jail on a $15,000 bond, for aggravated assault, a second-degree felony. If convicted, he faces two to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. He is also being held for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.