"We don’t arrest them. We take their $hit."Submitted by RobHino on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 13:52
For more than six months, Miguel Flores lived a double life. In his day job, he was a narcotics investigator for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department. But underneath his uniform, he secretly wore a wire for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a probe into corruption at the highest levels of law enforcement along the border.
With four children to feed and clothe, Flores saw a solid middle-class future in law enforcement. He worked hard, and in 2011 earned a promotion from deputy patrol officer to narcotics investigator. “I was doing really good, taking down a lot of loads,” Flores said in an exclusive interview with the Observer. “I had good informants.”
Then one day in August 2012, Gerardo Duran and Sal Arguello—two members of the Panama Unit, a rogue narcotic task force led by Jonathan Treviño, the son of Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño— approached Flores with an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Duran told me ‘you seem to know a lot of people with good information,’” Flores said. “I told them I’d be happy to introduce them to some of my informants, so they could make some arrests.”
But, according to Flores, that wasn’t what Duran had in mind, replying, “We don’t arrest them. We take their shit.”
Continue Reading: http://www.texasobserver.org/exclusive-the-man-behind-hidalg...
McALLEN — A federal judge Wednesday sentenced a sheriff's son to 17 years in prison for using his position as a Mission police detective to take bribes and rip off drug dealers.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane's sentence for Jonathan Treviño, the son of former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, was the longest of the 12 men, nine of them law enforcement officers, who were part of the corruption scheme.
Most of the officers were members of the defunct Panama Unit, comprised of some Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies and Mission police officers, that was supposed to be stopping drug trafficking in the area. Instead, they were stealing drug shipments from traffickers and selling them to their rivals. The officers also initiated some of the thefts, mainly marijuana, but also cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. All but one pleaded guilty last year; the other was convicted by a jury.
Continue Reading: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Sheriff-s-son...
MCALLEN, TX—Four members of the now-defunct Panama Unit have been convicted, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Jonathan Trevino, 29; Claudio Mata, 35; and Eric Alcantar, 29, all of McAllen; and Salvador Arguello, 34, of Edinburg, entered guilty pleas just a short time ago before United States District Judge Randy Crane. Also pleading guilty today was a fifth individual, Gerardo Mendoza-Duran, 30, of Pharr, who was a member of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) but not part of the Panama Unit itself.
Trevino, Arguello, Mata, and Alcantar entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, while Mendoza-Duran pleaded guilty to attempting to aid and abet the possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.
From 2010 to December of 2012, Trevino, Arguello, Mata, and Alcantar utilized their positions as law enforcement officers to steal narcotics and currency. All four were members of the Panama Unit which was a drug task force operated by the HCSO and composed of HCSO deputies and officers with the Mission Police Department. The investigation revealed the defendants, upon learning the location of drugs and currency, would use their positions to gain entry into residences and vehicles in order to steal the contraband. Subsequently, the narcotics would be sold to other traffickers for a profit.
Continue Reading: http://www.fbi.gov/sanantonio/press-releases/2013/pleas-ente...
Federal agents Tuesday arrested a top-ranking law enforcement official in Hidalgo County, a man described in courtroom testimony as a chief political enforcer for Sheriff Lupe Treviño.
The arrest of sheriff's Commander Jose A. Padilla, 53, on money laundering and marijuana smuggling charges is just the latest in a series of federal corruption investigations in the border county that already ensnared Treviño's son.
The sheriff didn't respond to phone calls requesting comment, but he has in the past distanced himself from the inner workings of his campaign.
Continue Reading: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/politics/article/In-Hidalgo...
HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS — PJ Media has obtained exclusive hidden camera video that shows federal grant money creates an incentive for local law enforcement to falsify their crime statistics. The fake stats tell a story that ends up benefiting the local agencies that clamor for the grants, while helping Washington sell its story that the border is safer than it really is.
Continue Reading: http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/08/20/border-conspiracy-exclu...