Local News

Feds to Probe Case of Defendant Posed in Sombrero

Posted May 11, 2007

— The Department of Justice is investigating claims that a federal agent asked a Hispanic suspect to pose for a picture in a sombrero, U.S. Attorney George Holding said Friday.

Authorities arrested Jorge Hernandez-Villalvazo on drug charges two years ago. In recent pretrial hearings, a picture surfaced showing Villalvazo posing with the sombrero and a Mexican flag.

The picture, which reportedly was taken by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Raleigh, played a role in a plea deal and Villalvazo being released from jail.

"I was troubled to read ... of allegations of inappropriate treatment of a Hispanic defendant under investigation by agents of the DEA," Holding said in a statement. "Regardless of what crime an individual may have committed, all are entitled to humane and respectful treatment by the criminal justice system."


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  • sarahbglenn May 12, 2007

    To all of the triumphalists who consider this to be no big deal, I have to wonder if the reaction would be any different if a DEA agent in New York asked a southerner to pose with the Confederate flag and a lip full of Skoal. My point is that there is clearly not a paucity of stereotypes for Hispanics and this supports the ignorance that anyone in a sombrero must be a drug dealer. Shameful.

  • independent_thinker May 12, 2007

    "How can this be part of a plea deal or somebody getting out of jail."

    Evidence of being denied 5th Amd rights.


    Unprofessional patterns and practices.

    A complete lack of competency on the part of law enforcement.

    In short, a Defense Attorney's dream.

  • dsal68 May 12, 2007

    Why is it ok for "americans" to make fun of hispnics, esp Mexicans,(in general, us citizen, legal or illegal) and all you do is laugh..But when some one uses the word"nappy" "redneck" it's all over as racist.

  • narcolepsy123456 May 12, 2007

    He's wearing a hat and holding a flag of his heritage? I suppose if they'd have got a picture of him eating a TACO it would have been worse? That would be like me taking a picture of a random black person eating a watermelon and getting sued for it.

    Stop being silly mexicans, stop being silly.

  • Cyn May 12, 2007

    How can this be part of a plea deal or somebody getting out of jail. Hey I want to get out of jail....bring me a sombrero please. Your not Mexican. Don't discriminate! OK, how about a Dale Jr. hat. Will that work?

  • dsal68 May 12, 2007


  • Professor Studley May 12, 2007

    Today, hispanic in a sombrero, tomorrow, a black in a noose... where does it stop, a family of Jews in front of a incinerator?! The officer should be held responsible for this childish act, but is is really worth millions? I think NOT.

  • daMoFo May 11, 2007

    Good grief. He put on a hat and now will sue and get millions. So a DEA agent asked him to put it on. Big deal!