The Cameron County, Tx., Bail Bond Board prohibits bail bond companies from approaching people to ask for business in a police station, jail, prison, detention facility, or anywhere on state, city, or county property where people are detained by law enforcement. Violation is rampant in Brownsville, and allows bondsmen to take advantage of stressed people unfamiliar with the bail system, police and others told the Brownsville Herald.
Every morning, throngs of bondsmen are in or near the courtroom inside the Brownsville Police Department, hoping to get business from those arrested the previous night. Elane Flores said she felt vulnerable and desperate the morning after her husband was arrested for public intoxication, and too willingly handed over a wad of cash to a stranger. She said the bondsman took the money and walked away without offering a receipt or business card. “As soon as he took the money and started leaving, my heart started racing. There was no business card. Everything was sinking in,” Flores said. The man did bail out her husband, but she was out several hundred dollars. The company refunded $150 of her $300 after she repeatedly complained.