A Texas Border Sheriff’s Commander will spend 38 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy scheme that tied the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and a Texas-based drug trafficking kingpin from the Gulf Cartel.
On Thursday morning, Jose A. Padilla went before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane who handed down the sentence. Padilla had previously pleaded guilty to taking cash bribes from Gulf Cartel kingpin Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez for protection as well as sending money to former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino.
Trevino, a career lawman is currently fighting a five year prison sentence for depositing campaign donations from Gonzalez during the 2012 election Democratic primaries and general election.
While Padilla claimed in court that he only took the money in order to give it to Trevino, his credibility has been questioned by the federal judges who have heard the case of some of the players in the conspiracy.
Padilla is said to have sent out police vehicles to Gonzalez’s property to scare off rivals while drugs were being shipped or packages. In a previous hearing, witness testimony showed that Padilla had called off a murder investigation dealing with one of Gonzalez’s employees that had been killed by rivals looking to steal drugs.
Gonzalez owned T&F Produce, a Texas produce company that he used so store and ship massive drug shipments from the border area to various metropolitan cities throughout the nation. The kingpin has also been linked to the unsolved murder of Mexican folk singer Jesus “Chuy” Quintanilla a man who has been described by prosecutors as the only one to have seen Gonzalez and Trevino together. Quintanilla also wrote numerous Narco songs about Gonzalez, and even wrote a song about “Comandante Padilla.”
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz.