Farmers Branch immigrant-rights activist accused of being ‘Mesh Mask Bandit’
By DIANNE SOLÍS and TANYA EISERER Staff Writers
Updated: 22 June 2013 08:13 AM
An immigrant rights activist from Farmers Branch is suspected of being a prolific bank robber known as the Mesh Mask Bandit, the FBI says.
|Mug shot, 6/21/13|
Luis de la Garza, 59, appeared in federal court Friday in connection with the armed robbery of a Wells Fargo bank in April. Authorities believe he has robbed at least 18 other banks in nine area cities.
... The witness who saw the man without his mask before and after the robbery helped authorities with a sketch that the FBI circulated in May....
The witness at the Wells Fargo bank later identified de la Garza in a lineup, officials said. ...
De la Garza, a Mexican immigrant, spoke out about immigration policies, including those in Farmers Branch, where he has lived for at least a decade.
The American citizens of Farmers Branch, an inner ring suburb of Dallas, have repeatedly been sneered at in the national media for trying to take steps to lessen the inundation of illegal aliens in their town.
He was credited with developing a low-power Spanish-language television station, TeleAmerica, in the 1990s and had served on a prominent advisory committee of about 100 immigrants to the Mexican government’s Foreign Relations Ministry.
Gang of One in action
While he was on probation in the tax evasion case, de la Garza requested permission to travel to Mexico City in 2006 because he had received an invitation to attend inauguration events for then President-elect Felipe Calderón.
The court records included a copy of the invitation. It appears he received permission to take the trip.
Juan Hernandez, an immigrant adviser to former Mexican President Vicente Fox, said he was surprised by the allegations against de la Garza.
From the Wikipedia article on Luis de la Garza:
In 1994 he founded TeleAmerica a Spanish speaking television station that broadcasted 24 hours and served the Hispanic community giving them a venue to openly express their opinion. A couple of years later it became TeleAmerica Spanish Network, broadcasting to different states through independent stations but still under the TeleAmerica logo.
De la Garza was not good to his employees. On payday, his employees at TeleAmerica would have to rush to the bank to cash paychecks because there were always insufficient funds in the account.
By then Luis de la Garza had become very politically active within the Hispanic community and his Show Foro 44 had made a name for itself. Considering the needs of immigrants in the United States, he began working with Mexican Governors, Senators, Congressmen and the President to establish a relationship between the Mexicans in Mexico and the Mexicans in the United States. Luis de la Garza also became very active with American politicians, meeting with Senators and Congressmen to change the lives of many immigrants that had no voice, peacefully protesting against radical law proposals and organizing the Hispanic community to become politically active.
Foro 44 (originated from TeleAmerica's flagship station KLEG-LP), served as a platform for interviewing personalities live, such as President George W. Bush, President Vicente Fox, Mexican Governors, Congressmen and Senators from Mexico and the United States. Never forgetting the importance of local issues his show always has kept a deep commitment to education, health, business and local politics.
Luis de la Garza having always been very business oriented founded a new organization (RETO Group/ Representacion Total) with this organization he has been able to establish direct communication with business people in Mexico and the United States creating new opportunities for development and investment.
Luis de la Garza has been the recipient of many recognition awards, including one of the most influential media personalities by Hispanic 100 two times in a row , The Latino Peace officers, Who’s Talking (issued by the Dallas Morning News as one of the best Talk Shows), The Venegas Foundation, The Arlington Hispanic Advisory Council, LULAC and the Citizens Award (presented by the Dallas Police) just to name a few, Mr. de la Garza is a speaker on immigration issues, he has been invited and participated in national and international forums, radio and television shows, campaigns, conventions, schools and private functions.
Activist cuts out middlemen
In 2006, Luis de la Garza took a break from media and but not from politics, he is currently founding a new television station, hosting his radio talk show ConSentido and very active as a businessman creating new projects, such as manufacturing license plates while in prison for bank robbery, and building bigger bridges between Mexicans in Mexico and Mexicans in the United States. Because he believes that the only way to change things is to participate, be active and always create for future generations.
I suspect "such as manufacturing license plates while in prison for bank robbery" is a very recent interpolation in Wikipedia.
From a 2008 article on the Republican National Convention:
Despite Anti-Immigrant GOP, Some Latinos Are Sticking With McCain
Written by Martín Martínez
Posted on 2008-09-12
For Texas delegate Luis de la Garza, immigration reform is the best weapon McCain has to attract the Latino vote, one he will continue to use even if his party rebels against him.
"McCain is always going to support immigration reform and he won't rest until he sees Congress approve it because he knows very well that it's necessary to fix the immigration system, even if that costs him enemies in his own party, and also because, being a Senator from Arizona, he knows the needs of our people first-hand," De la Garza explained.
... "No politician or candidate understands the needs of the Latino community better than McCain. That's why he's committed himself not just to naturalizing 12 million undocumented immigrants but also to providing the tools Latinos need to get ahead in all aspects of life in this country," De la Garza said.
Note, that I can't prove at the moment that this is the same Luis de la Garza from Texas, but whoever this one is, he is an acute judge of Senator McCain, perhaps as an illustration of the rule of thumb that it takes one to know one.