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them in the hands of Gonsalez. They were introduced as evidence in his trial, but the contents of the story was not read to the jury. I asked Agent Wilson about the story and he said: “You gotta consider the source. For $10 that newspaper will print anything you tell them.” AT THE TRIAL last week in Judge Darwin Suttle’s court* the government claimed that 130 cases of through Mike Gonsalez’ garage between Sept. 18-Nov. 28, 1968. As it turns out, the house and garage are owned by a man named Abelardo Arredondo who, as it happens, manages the export house where Meche buys his goods in the first place. According to the government, the customers at Gonsalez’ garage included a lawyer, a school teacher, and a sergeant in the Del Rio Police Department. The lawyer and teacher appeared as witnesses for the defense \(both are good friends of smuggled liquor much less bought it at his home. The police sergeant was not identified, nor was he called to testify although, of course, he would have been guilty of the same conspiracy. During the four days of testimony the only evidence that Gonsalez knew anything about smuggled goods came from Cantu, a furtive, wirey little man who told an interpreter that on several occasions Mike looked out the window while Cantu was unloading contraband. Cantu also testified that he had never laid eyes on Agent Cliff Wilson until that Thanksgiving Day when Wilson busted him. Cantu also testified that he helped Agent Wilson change a flat tire earlier in the day in Ciudad Acufia. Meche Beltran’s testimony was limited to denying the testimony of other witnesses that Meche had repeatedly told them Mike “had nothing to do with all of this smuggling business.” The government did not try to establish that Gonsalez profited from the smuggling, merely that he knew it was taking place. And the defense never challenged the contention that on Oct. 19 and Nov. 28, 1968 \(earlier the government had dropped the Sept. 18 “conspiracy” count rather than reveal the illegal activity had taken place in Gonsalez’ garage. Th .e defense merely pointed out that the Gonsalez family was out of town on those dates and could not possibly be held accountable. At one point in the testimony Meche Beltran said: “I just want to get out of this.” Beltran was a truly sympathetic witness in the case against Gonsalez: you could tell he didn’t want any part in what *Ironically, Judge Suttle was a prominent attorney and civic booster in Uvalde when Mike Gonsalez was a high school hero. It will be his job at some future date to pass sentence on Beltran and Cantu. 6 The Texas Observer was happening. Agent Wilson, on the other hand, came across more as an indignant citizen of this great-land-of-ours than a law enforcement officer: Del Rio, he seemed to say, would be a better place if Mike V. GonsaleL’ fat brown ass was in jail . . . or at least prohibited from practicing law. Gonsalez was defended by El Paso lawyer J. B. Ochoa, who like Gonsalez is a member of the State Advisory Committee to the Civil Rights Commission; and by Warren Burnett, whose jurisprudential medicine show is appearing more and more around the state. There were real tears in Burnett’s eyes when he told the jury: “Folks, there’s something going on here. We ought not have one law for Mike Gonsalez and another for everyone else.” Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Waco There is a tradition, adapted here to fit these circumstances, that the vulnerabilities of the father should not be visited on the son. With Lloyd Bentsen, Jr., running against U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough, this tradition, grounded in simple human justice, should be kept foremost in one’s mind. “You know, my father is not running,” Bentsen, Jr. told the Observer in a telephone interview from Corpus Christi. He said that events in his father’s and uncle’s business career before 1955 and the fact that the two men are now the largest stockholders in the insurance company of which he was president have “no relevancy to my candidacy.” In a different connection, he remarked, as to his father’s holdings, “I have no land interests with him. He has his and I have mine.” The Bentsen fortune originated in the “immigration land business” conducted by Lloyd Bentsen, Sr., and his brother Elmer Bentsen in the Rio Grande Valley. These men are the candidate’s father and uncle. Early in the 1950’s, this land business was assailed by a raft of civil lawsuits alleging that the elder Bentsens and others had conspired to defraud buyers by selling them dry farm land as irrigated citrus land worth four or five .times as much as it actually was. One judgment went against the elder Bentsens and their associates, another ended in a hung jury and dismissal, and out of court there were cash settlements and trade-backs of deeds. The United States Supreme Court ruled in yet another of the cases that the Bentsen interests and others could properly be sued to ascertain whether they had violated the federal securities act. Perhaps the most serious blow to Lloyd, Sr., and Elmer Bentsen, as far as the public The jury, which included eight chicanos and one black woman, agreed. Not guilty on all counts. The black woman flashed Delia Gonsalez the peace sign as they filed out for the final time. When it was done, lawyers Burnett and Ochoa rented motorcycles and took off with friends on a two-week trip to Mexico. Mike and Delia Gonsalez and their family and friends returned to Del Rio. Delia is a candidate for district clerk in the May election. And Mike is running for district judge. He ought to be elected. Mr. Cartwright is an Austin writer and Observer contributing editor. appearance of things goes, came in the midst of the Texas gubernatorial campaign of 1954 between Gov. Allan Shivers and Ralph Yarborough. A federal judge ordered his clerk to unseal a deposition Shivers had given in connection with five of the land fraud cases two years before. The deposition showed that Shivers had paid Lloyd Bentsen, Sr., $25,000 for an option to buy some of the land that became involved in the suits and then seven months later, just after having been elected lieutenant governor, sold it for a $425,000 profit in a transaction handled by the same Bentsen, Sr. Lloyd Bentsen, Sr.,’s son, Lloyd, Jr., was not at any point known or alleged to have been a participant in his father’s and uncle’s land transactions or his father’s deal with Shivers. Lloyd, Jr., had been elected the county judge in Hidalgo County in 1946, the year of the $425,000 transaction between his father and Shivers in Hidalgo County, but Shivers did not record the instruments at the Courthouse. In 1948 the young Bentsen was elected to Congress with the copious lubrication of his father’s money, but in this he was no different from many prominent American politicians of wealth who come to mind. However, in 1953 Bentsen, Jr., introduced a bill to provide for federal funding of “non-federal irrigation projects.” Waterworks thus built for irrigation districts would have been given, under Congressman Bentsen’s bill, the “benefits [and] privileges under reclamation laws, including repayment provisions.” This evidently meant interest-free loans, in effect a federal subsidy. It is unclear, and Bentsen, Jr., left it unclear, whether the most important limitation under the federal laws, limiting the distribution of the federally-subsidized water to 160 acres per landowner, would continue under his plan. His bill specified A historical inquiry into the origins of the Bentsen fortune