Breitbart Texas has been closely following the story of Lupe Trevino, the former sheriff of Hidalgo County in south Texas, who admitted to accepting campaign funds from a narco-trafficker. But the alleged corruption within the Sheriff’s Department does not end with Trevino. In January 2013, members of the department’s drug task force called the Panama Unit were accused of possessing and distributing marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs. On April 29, Hidalgo County approved a settlement for four residents who had their home invaded by the former unit.
More specifically, $150,000 will be given to Santos Rodriguez Jr., Maria De Jesus Olvera, Jessica Muñoz and Jesus Andres Muñoz, according to a report by The McAllen Monitor. The Panama Unit invaded their home in 2012 and apparently caused significant damage.
A lawsuit alleges that Jesus Andres Muñoz, who was 15-years-old at the time of the raid, was held at gunpoint while officers “proceeded to illegally search the home in search of money and contraband.”The Monitor claimed that Jessica Muñoz was told that her children would be taken from her if she did not sign a document, admitting there were drugs in her home. Although she was arrested on-the-spot, all charges against her were ultimately dropped.
The settlement came after the four sued a slew of public figures including Lupe Trevino and his son Jonathan Trevino, who was a member of the Panama Unit at the time of the invasion. The City of Mission and the Mission Police Department were also sued, according to local reports.
The City of Mission will allegedly not be able to take action until May 27, the date of the next city council meeting.
Mission City Manager Martin Garza told The Monitor, “We’re basically waiting for a recommendation from [the district attorney’s] office to give to our city council members. I do know that they’re getting ready to make that kind of recommendation.”
In addition to the “illegal” home raid, the Panama Unit is accused of being paid thousands of dollars to protect and escort traveling vehicles that were full of narcotics, on multiple occasions. A 2013 criminal complaint obtained by Breitbart Texas states that the Unit “utilized their positions as law enforcement personnel to escort and protect loads of narcotics.”
During the entire scheme, even as it unraveled in the public eye, Sheriff Lupe Trevino denied having any knowledge of his son’s alleged corrupt activity with the Panama Unit. The McAllen Monitor reported that throughout the investigation, the sheriff “maintained that he knew nothing about the actions of members of his agency, comparing himself to a person whose spouse was cheating on him – and saying he was the last to know about the criminal actions.”
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