A La Porte Police Department officer with three and a half years on the job is under investigation for the misuse of official information or bribery by the Texas Rangers, according to a search warrant obtained by KPRC 2.
The search warrant was for his alleged involvement in a capital murder case out of Houston earlier this year. Two men, Polie Phan, 26, and Jaidan Nguyen, 25, were charged in March and extradited from San Francisco.
Search warrant documents revealed what investigators said were text messages between the officer and one of the suspects around the time the victims were found murdered.
The allegations detailed in the search warrant include one of the suspects asking the officer and another La Porte police department employee to run vehicle license plates, at least one tracing back to that gruesome scene.
In January, Harris County officials said Phan and Nguyen allegedly killed Dana Rysdall and James Martin, two men who ran an out-of-state marijuana business. Officials say Phan and Nguyen fled halfway around the world to Vietnam where they were later captured in July.
The latest warrant shows alleged text messages between Phan and 25-year-old La Porte police officer Ivan Morales.
The transcript shows Phan asking Morales to check plates. Morales then asks Phan if they’re stolen, and states that he could get in trouble if not. Phan then allegedly sends a picture of a plate and then $100 on Apple Pay.
La Porte Police said checking license tags for friends or as favors is against policy.
The document shows Morales ran the plate through the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System and received personal information from the owner of the truck.
It’s unclear who that truck belongs to, but we know it’s part of the investigation into Rysdall and Martin’s murders.
More explicitly, the search warrant also shows what officials say is an exchange of text messages between Phan and a non-commissioned employee of the La Porte police department, Fernando Garcia.
Phan appears to ask Garcia to run the plate of the Toyota Prius that Martin’s body was found a short time later. That Prius was located at the same address on TC Jester where Rysdall’s bloodied body had been found.
Officials say Garcia resigned before the investigation began. Morales has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
KPRC 2 tried to reach Morales for comment by visiting is listed address and calling his phone number, but we were not able to reach him.
KPRC 2 has learned Phan and Morales have been friends for quite some time, but we are working to confirm details about their relationship.
La Porte Police said its taking the allegations seriously and it is not a reflection of their department.