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AUSTIN â€“ The Texas Department of Public Safety announced that three of the Texas 10 Most Wanted fugitives or sex offenders were captured within the last week. Fugitives Daniel Pineda, Jr., 26, and Trinidad Diaz Mermella, 46, were both arrested on Tuesday, July 24, in separate incidents after tips led to their capture. Additionally, a Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender, Brandon Gary Johnson, 42, was arrested last week in Dallas.
So far in 2012, DPS and other agencies have arrested 24 Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives and Sex Offenders, including 17 gang members, and $75,500 in rewards have been paid for tips that resulted in arrests. The cash rewards are funded by the Governorâ€™s Criminal Justice Division.
Pineda, a Latin Kings gang member, was arrested Tuesday evening in Bryan after a tip helped authorities locate him at a residence. A tipster will receive the $7,500 cash reward. Pineda had a lengthy criminal history, had been arrested 10 times and was wanted for parole violation and possession of a controlled substance. DPS Criminal Investigations Division (CID) agents, Texas Rangers, the DPS Highway Patrol and the Bryan Police Department all played a role in the apprehension.Â
Mermella, a Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos gang member, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Odessa after a tip led authorities to his location. A tipster will receive the $7,500 cash reward. His lengthy criminal history included aggravated assault of a police officer, assault, burglary and drug possession. He was also wanted for parole violation. DPS CID agents, the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force and the Midland County Sheriffâ€™s Office were all involved in the capture.
Johnson, a Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender, was captured July 18, in Dallas by a DPS CID agent and members of the U.S. Marshals Service North Texas Fugitive Task Force. He was originally arrested by the Garland Police Department for the aggravated sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl, which required him to register as a high-risk sex offender. No tip from the public was involved in this arrest, so no reward will be paid.
Texas Crime Stoppers, which is funded by the Governorâ€™s Criminal Justice Division, offers cash rewards to any person who provides information that leads to the arrest of one of the Texas 10 Most Wanted fugitives or sex offenders. There are four different ways to provide anonymous tips:
â€˘ Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).
â€˘ Text the letters DPSâ€”followed by your tipâ€”to 274637 (CRIMES) from your cell phone.
â€˘ Submit a web tip through the DPS website by selecting the fugitive you have information about, and then clicking on the link under their picture.
â€˘ Submit a Facebook tip at http://www.facebook.com/texas10mostwanted by clicking the â€śSUBMIT A TIPâ€ť link (under the â€śAboutâ€ť section).
All calls, texts, e-mails and Facebook messages are anonymous.
Â DPS investigators work with local law enforcement agencies to select fugitives featured in the Texas 10 Most Wanted Program. You can find the current listsâ€”with photosâ€”on the DPS website at http://www.dps.texas.gov/texas10mostwanted/.
Â Do not attempt to apprehend these fugitives; they are considered armed and dangerous.