EDINBURG, Texas — A federal agent, various police officers and a mixed martial arts promoter have all been charged in connection a complex scheme to steal drugs from smugglers. The conspiracy involved officers from the Rio Grande Valley to Houston.
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector and Edinburg Police separately confirmed to Breitbart Texas that officer Border Patrol Agent Daniel Polanco and Edinburg PD Officer Hector Beltran were the individuals named in a multi-count federal indictment accusing them on drug charges.
According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S Attorney’s Office, both Polanco and Beltran turned themselves in to authorities on Friday.
Former Houston Police Officer Esteban Carrion was in custody on separate charges and will go before a federal judge in Houston in the near future. Authorities have also issued a summons for Precinct 7 Deputy Constable Juan Ignacio Leal from Houston who is expected to go before a judge on May 31.
The charges come from a superseding indictment filed in court this week that accused 15 defendants of which at least three are law enforcement officials on 11 counts of drug possession and conspiracy charges.
Since 2013, agents with Homeland Security Investigations began looking into drug trafficking organization that would use law enforcement officials to carry out the seizures of drug in order to steal from other drug traffickers, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
The group was contacted by drug traffickers looking to get loads of cocaine and methamphetamine into northern cities. According to authorities, the group would then dilute the drugs to a minimum in order to have law enforcement seize the diluted load while the group kept the actual drugs. The group would then tell the drug traffickers that their loads had been seized by law enforcement.
The case first came to light in March when federal authorities arrested Dimas De Leon, a local mixed martial arts promoter in connection with his criminal organization. Dimas De Leon, a Mexican national living legally in Edinburg, is one of the owners and promoters of South Texas Fighting Championships (STFC) a mixed martial arts league that regularly holds professional bouts.
The indictment of law enforcement officials in connection to drug trafficking comes after a long line of public corruption cases. One of the most notable cases dealt with the Panama Unit, a drug unit made up of deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’’s Office and Mission Police. The members of the unit earned time in federal prison for stealing drugs from drug traffickers and then selling them on the side.
The Panama Unit scandal spread to other law enforcement officials including former Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino and his right hand man Commander Joe Padilla who are both serving a federal prison sentence for taking money from a Mexican drug cartel boss who was living in Texas.
In April 2015, federal authorities arrested Rio Grande City Detective Noel Pena for his role in the theft of drugs during narcotics seizures.
In July 2015, federal authorities arrested Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez, a Mission Police officer for his alleged role in the theft of narcotics. In that conspiracy, the drugs were also diluted in order to be seized by authorities.