Nieto pleads guilty

PRESIDIO – Carlos Eduardo Nieto, 66, the former Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Presidio and former Presidio Independent School District trustee, entered a guilty plea to federal charges related to a public corruption investigation at the Alpine federal magistrate court in Alpine on Tuesday.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge David Counts, Nieto pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

By pleading guilty, Nieto admitted that he and 56-year-old former Presidio County Precinct 3 Commissioner Lorenzo Padilla Hernandez conspired since May 10, 2016, to defraud Presidio County and its citizens of money by corruptly ensuring, through their positions and influence, that a particular company would be awarded a county contract for a document management system.

The company was actually a front, part of an FBI sting operation.

Hernandez and Nieto solicited and received $19,800 and $8,300, respectively, for their efforts.

On May 9, 2017, Hernandez voted to award the contract to that particular company.

Shortly after his arrest on the federal felony criminal indictment, Hernandez resigned as county commissioner. Nieto resigned from the school board, the Presidio County Appraisal District board of directors, and the Presidio Education Foundation board of directors. The City of Presidio abolished Nieto’s position as special projects coordinator.

On August 3, 2018, Hernandez pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Nieto faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Judge Counts scheduled sentencing for Nieto on February 19, 2019, in Pecos. Sentencing for Hernandez, who also faces up to 20 years in federal prison, has yet to be scheduled.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Monty Kimball of Alpine and William F. Lewis of San Antonio and formerly of Midland are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

The FBI, with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division also investigated this case.

Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Presidio County are urged to contact the F.B.I. at

(915) 835-5000.