San Antonio – A San Antonio woman who proved a confidential informant working with the Bexar County Sheriff’s office planted drugs in her home, leading to her arrest in 2017, is now fighting back with a lawsuit in federal court.
KSAT Investigates highlighted the botched drug case against Rubee Sandoval last year in an hour-long special, ‘Necessary Evil: The Cost of Confidential Informants.’ Sandoval’s fight to clear her name uncovered other cases involving the same informant planting large amounts of drugs before Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies raided a location.
Sandoval is now suing the county, the sheriff, his narcotics deputies, and the informant in federal court. Sandoval said she is trying to reclaim her life after it was turned upside down nearly six years ago when Bexar County narcotics deputies raided her home and found more than 2 pounds of methamphetamine.
A search warrant approving the raid stated an informant had seen meth inside Sandoval’s home within 48 hours of investigators taking the warrant to a judge. The warrant mentions nothing about where the drugs may be located, but when deputies raided her home, Sandoval said they seemed to know exactly where to look.
“They’re going straight to the back room, and they go, okay, it’s right here, it’s right here, and then they pick me up and put cuffs on me,” Sandoval recalled in ‘Necessary Evil.’
She said deputies went straight to a box in the back of her home that contained the drugs. Drugs she had never seen and had no idea were in her home.
“I just remember thinking, oh my God, oh my God. I just kept on saying that I had no idea,” Sandoval said.
Years later, a series of text messages between Sandoval and the informant were discovered. Sandoval had provided them to an attorney she hired but thought they were lost when she hired a new attorney and lost her old phone.
The texts revealed the informant, a man Sandoval knew through friends, had left the box at Sandoval’s home before tipping off his BCSO handlers. The texts proved the informant left the box containing the drugs at Sandoval’s. Sandoval said she thought she was helping the man store personal items while he was moving to a new place.
The raid happened in October of 2017, but Sandoval’s case wasn’t dismissed until May 2021, several months after the information provided by Sandoval led to the overturning of convictions for three other people who the same informant also set up.
“I do feel that he (informant) did not act alone. I feel that, unfortunately, that the deputies were involved,” Sandoval said. “This is my fight for justice.”
Last week attorney Jason Jakob filed a civil suit in federal court alleging a conspiracy against Sandoval that violated her constitutional rights.
“I mean, her life was completely ruined by this informant and the actions of Bexar County,” Jakob said. “There appears to be some sort of conspiracy. If not with the planted drugs, for certain with the situation of not moving to dismiss these cases and instead to continue to prosecute the case, to hide the case from the public, and to hide the case from any type of responsibility for these officers.”
While the Bexar County District Attorney’s office highly publicized its conviction integrity unit helping to overturn the convictions of John Cape and Louie Garcia and the dismissal of the case against Rexina Linan-Juarez, who died while waiting for her name to be cleared, Jakob said prosecutors continued to pressure Sandoval to take a plea deal in her case.
“And to threaten my client with 15 years to life if she doesn’t take the plea deal, even after the fact that is wrongful prosecution,” Jakob said. “You can’t take Ruby Sandoval and put her into a situation where you destroy her life and then just say, ‘Okay, well, sorry,’ and nothing happens to anybody. No, that’s what attorneys are for.”
The past 6 years have taken a heavy toll on Sandoval. She’s lost her home, her truck, and her job.
“Employment’s nearly impossible, you know, because that’s on my record still,” Sandoval said.
Despite the setbacks and disappointing outcomes in the past trying to find some semblance of justice, Sandoval remains committed to the fight.
“They do this to people all the time. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one, you know. I’m just the only one that was able to somehow rise above it. I just want to get my life back to where it was, you know?”
In the lawsuit, Sandoval is asking for an unspecified amount of money in damages.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment on the new lawsuit.
Previously, in our special, Salazar denied any wrongdoing by his agency or his deputies and said no deputies had been disciplined in connection with the cases.
While the informant has never been prosecuted for planting the drugs and lying to deputies in these cases, he was convicted in March on drug possession charges in another case and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
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