Texas Border Sheriff Drug Money Scandal Allegedly Expands

Texas Border Sheriff Drug Money Scandal Allegedly Expands

Breitbart Texas has been closely following the case of Lupe Trevino, the former sheriff of Hidalgo County in south Texas who pled guilty to money laundering on April 14. The plea came only 17 days after Trevino stepped down from his position. Now, according to emerging reports, it seems there are new allegations against Trevino. 

Trevino, with the help of his Chief of Staff Maria Patricia Medina, attempted to cover up campaign contributions paid in cash by a convicted drug trafficker. The total amount of contributions was reportedly between $70,000 and $120,000, according to The McAllen Monitor

Local reports state that on May 1, when former Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office Investigator Aida Palacios was questioned by prosecutors, she admitted that her boyfriend Julio A. Davila hand-delivered cash payments to Comdr. Jose Padilla that came from major drug trafficker Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez. Breitbart Texas previously reported that Gonzalez admitted to the charges against him, related to providing campaign funds to Trevino. More specifically, Gonzalez pled guilty to possessing drugs with the attempt to distribute them and conspiracy to launder money.

Davila was a local drug trafficker but was also an informant–he regularly fed information to U.S. Customs and Immigrations Enforcement agents, The Monitor reported. 

Padilla reportedly supervised the Special Services Bureau. After receiving the cash from Davila, Padilla would allegedly hand it off to Trevino. 

Both Davila and Padilla have reportedly been arrested in connection to the scheme. 

Palacios admitted to helping Davila and apparently allowed him to store marijuana and cocaine in her home–she was also arrested. On May 1, she was reportedly sentenced to two and a half years in prison. She apparently said in court, “I am so sorry. And I apologize to this court.”

Palacios started working for Hidalgo County in 1986, when she took a job as a legal secretary at the District Attorney’s Office. The Monitor stated that she began working for Trevino in 200 as a criminal investigator on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force. 

District Attorney Rene Guerra allegedly claimed she tried to warn Palacios about becoming involved with Davila. She said, “I warned her, I told her family about it, but she was in love. And she went down with him.”

Reports state that Palacios will likely have her prison time reduced to time served. 

Davila was also reportedly involved with the Panama Unit, the corrupt drug task force of Trevino’s department. In early 2013, the group was accused of possessing and distributing various drugs. Trevino’s son, Jonathan Trevino, was a member of the Unit. 

Members of the Panama Unit were allegedly paid thousands of dollars by smugglers to protect their vehicles as they transported narcotics shipments, according to an indictment. 

Only recently did Lupe Trevino admit he had knowledge of the Panama Unit’s scheme as it took place. Previously, however, 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,” the McAllen Monitor reported.

Lupe Complaint by BreitbartTexas

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate


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