A federal grand jury indicted three Texas men – two truckers and a state worker – in connection with a scheme to sell commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) without the drivers having to take the required test, according to a report from the San Antonio Express-News.
The indictment, which was handed down July 24 in a San Antonio court, said Alonzo Blackman, 62, a commercial driver’s license examiner with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), took bribes from two truckers – Marino Maury Diaz-Leon, 52, of San Antonio, and Fernando Guardado Vazquez, 40, of Austin.
The number of fraudulent CDLs issued by Blackman was 215, of which 197 went to Cuban nationals, 12 to U.S. citizens, two to Mexican nationals, and one each to Dominican, Ethiopian, Iraqi and Ukranian nationals.
Blackman had been a CDL examiner for seven years when DPS suspended him after a federal investigation that arose after a 2018 DPS audit.
The 2018 audit found that Blackman “had an unusual number of CDLs being issued.” An investigation by DPS and the Texas Rangers identified more than 200 license holders who had not been scheduled to take the skill test, which consists of an air brake safety inspection and a road test.
After he was arrested, Blackman helped authorities obtain videotaped evidence of bribes that Diaz-Leon and Vazquez paid to him, testified Monroe Giese, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“[Blackman] was interviewed, and he admitted to accepting bribes to falsely certify that people had passed their skills assessment test, when in fact they had not passed it or hadn’t even shown up for the test,” Giese testified in court July 8.
The 215 CDLs in question have been canceled, according to the FBI. The FBI did not disclose which Texas DPS office Blackman worked for, but said he has been with the state agency since 2012. No other DPS employees have been implicated.
The Texas DPS issues and renews driver licenses and identification cards. The FBI did not disclose how much Blackman was paid for issuing the fraudulent CDLs.
Blackman is not in custody, but must appear in court August 11. Vazquez and Diaz-Leon were released on personal recognizance bonds after a district judge granted them bail. Prosecutors argued that the two truck drivers – Cuban nationals with legal U.S. residency – are a flight risk.