Things That Matter

Joe Lopez Is Launching A Career Comeback After Serving Time For Raping Teenage Niece

Do you believe people deserve redemption? In today’s society, cancel culture is real and it has ended the career of many in entertainment, politics, and sports. Some have committed such egregious crimes that their cancelation is in line with societal values and norms. That is a discussion happening now with Joe Lopez’s return to the music world after 12 years in prison for raping his niece when she was 13 years old.

A Tejano musician who was in prison for 12 years after he was convicted of raping his own niece is making a return to the music world.

Credit: El Rodeo Disco / Facebook

Joe Lopez, a 69-year-old singer of the Tejano group called Banda Mazz, was released from prison in 2018 after the parole board deemed it was okay for him to be let go. He was supposed to be in jail for 20 years but was released early, as the Daily Mail reports, after the “Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decided last week to allow Lopez to enter the county ‘solely for employment purposes.'”

Raymond Estrada, a spokesperson for the parole board, said they encourage offenders to be able to get jobs after their release from prison. 

“The board recognizes the importance of employment as being a critical component to successful reentry for offenders,” Estrada, told the San Antonio Current. “If public safety is not compromised, we support such initiatives.”

That statement is a bit unsettling, considering that Lopez, who is a sex offender, will be singing to women of all ages at concerts. 

In 2004, Lopez was convicted of raping his niece. She was only 13-years-old at the time.

The crime occurred in Rancho Viejo, a small town outside Brownsville, Texas. He has since returned to that same neighborhood, which is where his niece still lives. While he is registered as a sex offender, he has always maintained that he never committed the crime. 

Lopez’s niece has yet to comment on the release of her convicted uncle. However, Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston and an advocate of the rape victim said the parole’s decision to release Lopez early is a “slap in the face.”  He added, “I can’t fathom their rationale for allowing this to happen. How can I in good conscience now tell victims we can get that in the conditions of their release when it’s subject to being easily removed and changed?”

If you’re thinking that there’s no way people would be interested in hearing Lopez sing again with his band, think again. At least one of his shows is sold out.

Lopez will be performing with his old group Banda Mazz on a comeback tour, and at least one show was sold out as soon as it announced. Oh, and the show is called the “Freedom Tour.” 

El Rodeo Disco uploaded one of Banda Mazz’s videos, and most people on social media were thrilled about the band’s return. 

Pablo Hernandez wrote on Facebook, “Been waiting long enough. Alli voy a estar.” Sylvia Ortiz also chimed in saying, “Whom am I to judge. Love ur music.” Others said, “is this show sold out?” Another said, “can’t wait!” One person, however, did not approve. Juan N Esme Reynoso wrote on Facebook, “This was when he wasn’t a child molester. Rodeo Disco is wrong for letting him perform.”

Lopez definitely has a following. On the band’s Facebook page, fans were thrilled that the band would be headed on a comeback tour.

Sandra Vallejo who serves as Lopez’s manager told the Daily Mail they are seeking to exonerate him of the rape charges. She adds, “For every one person against him, there are three more who support him.” She is right about that. From our research of the band on social media, people are praising their return. 

We think it’s mostly due to the band’s older audience. It’s interesting to note that the biggest Tejano music star — Selena Quintanilla, of course — has some of the most socially conscious fans, especially her new fans. So perhaps some of them will organize a rally at some of Banda Mazz’s shows. Because you know Selena would never stand for a convicted sex offender perform in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, knowing full well that there is a dangerous element involved. 

READ: A Woman Has Come Forward To Accuse An ICE Agent Of Rape And Threatening Her With Deportation

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North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

Things That Matter

North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

A beloved Spanish teacher at a North Carolina school was killed in a shootout with a Mexican cartel. The Spanish teacher and coach was popular among students, faculty, and staff and lived by the motto “All Love…No Fear.”

Coach Barney Harris was beloved at the Union Academy Charter School.

Harris’ death stunned the community and the school’s social media lit up with memorials and remembrances of the teacher. Students responded with notes honoring the coach. Yet, the varsity basketball and track coach for the Charlotte-area charter school was hiding a secret that quickly came to light shortly after his death.

As students, faculty, and staff expressed sorrow for his sudden death, details emerged that changed the narrative. Turns out that Harris was killed in a gunfight with a Mexican cartel. Authorities in North Carolina revealed that Harris’ body was found in a mobile home in Alamance County, where he allegedly met with drug runner Alonso Beltran Lara.

The details of Harris’ death have shocked more than his community.

The school’s social media pages quickly deleted tribute posts to the Spanish teacher when the details were revealed. Authorities were cautious with releasing the information to make sure that the facts were verified.

“I can tell you this right now. When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get a good grip of what’s going on here,” Sheriff Terry Johnson told WCNC.

According to authorities, it is believed that Harris, along with his brother-in-law, killed a drug runner for the cartel and a gunfight ensued. Harris was killed during the shootout.

According to authorities, the two interstates, Interstate 85 and Interstate 40, have created a well-used corridor for moving money and drugs for the cartels.

Authorities seized five firearms, about $7,000 in cash, and 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine from the scene. No other people in the mobile home park were injured.

READ: It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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