Photos have surfaced of school board trustee Luis Galvan, 32, in an office with baggies of what appears to be marijuana. Galvan was confronted on Tuesday afternoon outside the Ector County Independent School District headquarters downtown with the four photos, which were dropped off at the OA printed in color on two pieces of paper.
His first words after looking at the photos were, “Damn. That’s crazy.”
In a 15-minute conversation, Galvan paused for long periods of time just staring at the photos and not saying anything. He at one point called his wife on the phone and said, “Pictures (were) sent to OA, of what might be some bud or something and me in it.”
The photos show Galvan, which he acknowledged were photos of him, though from several years ago, he said, reaching into a sandwich Ziploc bag of what appears to be marijuana. In other photos he’s standing behind a desk in an office with the baggies sitting on a desk. In total, three of the same clear Ziploc bags with a green plant that appears to be marijuana are visible in the photos.
The Odessa American informed the Odessa Police Department of the photographs with its inquiry Tuesday afternoon. Department officials said Galvan was not the subject of an investigation nor would the photographs likely make him one.
Instead Sgt. Matt Davidson, head of the OPD’s narcotics unit, said the department would record the information as it would a tip and review it.
Galvan was elected by voters of Ector County to represent Place 1 in May 2010. He’s up for re-election in 2014.
Galvan said he’s never been arrested or in trouble with the law. Galvan also said that someone is trying to frame him, and that the photos “must be Photoshopped.” He said his in-laws are upset with him and out to get him, to break up his two-year marriage.
When asked a second time for an explanation, Galvan said their home had been broken into recently and they had some items missing. Galvan never did say that the photo was taken in his home or in the office of his tree trimming business Young Pro Tree Service in Odessa located on South Grissom Avenue. The address on his driver’s license is the same as his business.
During the interview with Galvan, after speaking with his wife on his cell phone, she drove to ECISD and was shown the photos.
“But this is in the office,” Galvan’s wife Abigail Garcia said.
Galvan waved his hand at her in a motion as if to stop talking and said, “no, it looks like years ago. Don’t say nothing. I needed you to see that. So … I don’t know.”
Galvan did admit to having used marijuana, which is an illegal substance in Texas, on occasion.
“I’ve experimented before. I know all the presidents have … everyone, to a point,” Galvan said, adding that it hasn’t gone on in years. Later in the conversation, he said “sometimes I do use. If I’m at a party or maybe a concert.”
When asked “is this marijuana?” Galvan said, “It looks like it. I mean, shit, that’s some good-looking stuff. A decent amount, you know?”
When asked if he sells drugs, he said no.
“I don’t sell drugs,” Galvan said. “I’d like the federal government to change classification, it has great medicinal uses.” He said that prescription drugs are addictive and he had never heard of someone overdosing on marijuana.
“Whether it makes right or wrong. Depends if you listen to the government or have your own beliefs,” Galvan said.
In Texas statute, possession of 2 ounces to 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor is possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. Marijuana possession becomes a felony when it’s more than 4 ounces.
Generally, third-party photographs aren’t enough to substantiate a charge and such images could at most be used in a character portrayal by a prosecutor, Davidson said.
“It’s not a law enforcement picture. It wasn’t obtained as evidence in any fashion. It’s pretty much the same as hearsay,” Davidson said.
The narc unit would generally have to suspect a large amount of marijuana to devote its resources to building a case. Patrol would generally handle smaller possession cases, Davidson said.
“As far as evidence goes, I can’t use it,” Davidson said. “I don’t have the marijuana.”
The Texas Association of School Boards’ guidelines on vacancies or removal from office fall under “incompetency” such as gross ignorance of official duties; official misconduct, intoxication on or off duty, and conviction by a jury for any felony or for misdemeanor official misconduct.
Galvan said he could pass a drug test today if asked to. “That’s why it’s upsetting,” he said.
ECISD promotes a “Just Say No!” campaign directed at junior high and high school students about not using drugs or alcohol.
Galvan didn’t return phone calls for further comment Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, he did say this about his role as a board member: “When I came into this position I was going to be a role model and after having my baby. I’m not a kid anymore. Time for me to grow up.”
OA reporter Corey Paul contributed to this report.
>> Contact Lindsay Weaver on twitter at @OAschools, on Facebook at OA Lindsay Weaver or call 432-333-7781.