EXCLUSIVE: Locals say they're not connected to crime ring; HPD made a mistake

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Viewers tell abc13 they're not connected to crime ring, Kaitlin McCulley reports. (KTRK)

The Houston Police Department released 76 mug shots of men and women they say are connected to an organized crime ring.

However, Eyewitness News has learned of at least one man who is included in the group of suspects that has not been charged with a crime since 2006. That charge, which was for driving with a suspended license, was dropped.

Anthony Almaguer is a husband and proud father of three young boys. His mother, Rebecca, said she's finding herself defending her son's character after HPD released his old mug shot in connection with the organized crime ring.

"It makes me choke up a little bit because he's not a thief," Rebecca said. "He's not a thief."

According to HPD's press release, "Charges have been filed against 130 suspects involved in an organized crime ring that committed thefts and property crimes in Houston and surrounding areas."

PHOTOS: Mugshots from "Operation Wheels and Deals"

Court records show Anthony Almaguer has not been charged with any crime in 10 years yet he's grouped with 75 other suspects who police say are charged with crimes related to the theft ring.

"It breaks people's hearts, their reputations, their families, their jobs," Rebecca said. "It just wrecks so many things."

A spokesman for HPD would not explain how investigators think Almaguer is involved or why he is not charged with a crime if he is involved.

"HPD should admit they did something wrong," Rebecca said.

Eyewitness News has heard from five other people who claim they are not involved. Some say they have lost their jobs because HPD released their old mug shots to the media.

An HPD spokesman said anyone who has concerns should call the Burglary Division at 713-308-0900.
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