Imagine If He Were Tea Party: FBI Says Leader of 2006 Immigrant March in Dallas 'Hit 19 Banks Since New Year’s Eve'

A longtime but recently inactive Hispanic leader in Dallas has been arrested and, according to the FBI, is the "Mesh Mask Bandit" responsible for robbing 19 banks since New Year’s Eve."

Imagine if a recent Tea Party leader of the stature of Luis de la Garza (as named at his Wikipedia page; the linked story at CBS 11 in Dallas uses "delagarza" as his last name) were arrested in similar circumstances. First, it would become prominent national news. Second, his or her fellow activists wouldn't be offering up the pathetic excuses readers will see after the jump -- or if they did, the ridicule would justifiably be never-ending (bolds are mine throughout this post):


Immigration Rights Activist Alleged ‘Mesh Mask Bandit’

Hispanic leaders in North Texas are stunned that an accused serial bank robber was once one of their own. Luis Delagarza was arrested for the April robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank, but an FBI Task Force also identified him as the ‘Mesh Mask Bandit’ whose hit 19 banks since New Year’s Eve. The ‘Mesh Mask Bandit’ robbed most of his banks in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch-North Dallas area. But they are also just a few blocks away from Delagarza’s home in Farmers Branch, in a community where he made a name for himself pushing for immigration rights. His arrest has left fellow activists, such as Carlos Quintanilla, in shock.

“Luis Delagarza robbed banks, I guess, to deal with his demons, and that’s a sad story,” Quintanilla told CBS 11. Latinos in North Texas may remember Delagarza as an organizer of protests and marches for immigration rights, like one in Irving in 2007. “So he did some amazing things as a community leader, as a businessman, and all of that was just poisoned by him becoming a serial bank robber,” according to Quintanilla.

So what led this activist to become an accused armed robber? Quintanilla claims Delagarza has a gambling addiction. “I think he had a problem with gambling,” according to Quintanilla, who added, “I think the casinos got the best of him. I think he became very indebted. I think he became so indebted that he had to do this.”

... While he is shocked by the arrest, (educator and politician Rene) Martinez insists any alleged criminal actions are those of an individual, not Hispanic rights supporters.

The Wikipedia entry on this illegal immigrant marches throughout the U.S. in 2006 claims that the Dallas march on April 10 had 350,000 - 500,000 participants. A story that day at the Houston Chronicle carried the same estimate.

A related HispanicallySpeakingNews.com item also notes the following:

He was admired across the border as well, having been invited to the inauguration of President Felipe Calderon in 2006. He also worked with the administration of former Mexican President Vicente Fox on immigrant advocacy issues.

... the Latino community in North Texas is wondering what happened to De La Garza that his ‘immigrant living the American Dream life’ took such a wrong turn.

Let's see if this story travels anywhere outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I'll bet not.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.