A former Texas police captain has been arrested after allegedly holding a local air conditioning repairman at gunpoint while claiming he was a voter fraud mastermind in possession of 750,000 phony voter ballots in the 2020 election.
David Zuniga, who lives in the southside of Houston with his family, was on his way to work at 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 19 when a black SUV drove up behind his repair truck and struck the vehicle, according to an arrest affidavit displayed on ABC-13 News. Zuniga pulled over and a man later identified as Mark Aguirre exited his vehicle.
“He said, ‘Help me, help me,’ with his hand inside his coat,” Zuniga told local station KPRC-TV.
But when Zuniga approached the man, Aguirre, 63, allegedly pulled out a gun and forced him to the ground. He then allegedly held him there for several minutes while multiple other unidentified suspects searched Zuniga’s vehicle, then drove it away from the scene.
Aguirre later told authorities he believed Zuniga was at the center of a massive voter fraud conspiracy in Harris County. Aguirre had been surveilling the man’s house for the past four days and was convinced Zuniga possessed about 750,000 fraudulent mail-in ballots, according to the affidavit.
Police arrived on the scene to find Aguirre with a knee planted on Zuniga’s back and a gun pointed at his head, according to the affidavit. Zuniga’s truck was nowhere to be seen.
When questioned by responding officers, Aguirre said he’d accidentally crashed into the repair truck but was now conducting a citizen’s arrest. He said he was an investigator on behalf of a group called the Liberty Center for God and Country, and he’d previously contacted the Texas Attorney General’s Office, asking them to conduct a traffic stop on Zuniga. The Texas Attorney General’s office told him that wouldn’t be possible without evidence, according to the affidavit.
Aguirre said that he didn’t know who drove off with Zuniga’s vehicle. It was later located a few blocks away.
Zuniga gave officers permission to search his truck, his home, and his nearby shed. No ballots were found anywhere, according to the affidavit.
Further investigations revealed that Aguirre had received a total of $266,400 in total from the Liberty Center for God and Country. This included a Sept. 22 payment of $25,000, an Oct. 9 payment of $25,000, and a $211,400 payment the day after the incident, according to the affidavit.
Aguirre was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault — a felony punishable with up to 20 years in prison.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime and we are lucky no one was killed. His alleged investigation was backward from the start – first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a press release.
Afterward, Chief Executive Officer for the Liberty Center for God and Country Steven Hotze, who is an outspoken believer in claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, disputed some claims against Aguirre.
“If they said he had a gun, why didn’t they take the gun away? Something smells there. I don’t know anybody who pulled a gun on anybody. That’s the first I ever heard that,” Hotze told ABC-13.
Hotze did admit to hiring about 20 private investigators through the Liberty Center for God and Country. However, he claimed that Zuniga “got out and rushed at” Aguirre when the two pulled over after the SUV rammed into the back of Zuniga’s vehicle. He added that believes the charges against Aguirre are a “political prosecution.”
This isn’t the first time Aguirre has been accused of overzealousness while conducting an investigation. In 2002, he was fired from his job as a Houston police captain after arresting over 300 people in a controversial sweep meant to crack down on illegal racing in a Kmart parking lot, according to the Houston Chronicle.
After that sweep, the police station was quickly swamped with complaints. All charges were dropped, and Aguirre was later acquitted of five counts of official oppression.
It’s not clear if Aguirre has an attorney who can comment on his behalf in this latest case.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.