A key provision in the spending bill being presented to President Trump for signing stipulates that the federal government give specific Texas border counties the opportunity to derail any efforts to build barriers, fencing, or walls by simply opposing the construction of the border security measures–but many of the specified counties have a long and recent history of top officials taking bribes from the Mexican Gulf Cartel. Ultimately, the bill allows county offices with historic ties to the Gulf Cartel to stop U.S. border barriers from being constructed in the region.
Local government officials spoke out against the building of additional border barriers and have relied on the judgment of local law enforcement officials. As Breitbart News reported, the bill being presented to President Trump has a stipulation that would require the approval of local governments in order to move forward with the construction of any border barriers. However, the three counties where the border barriers were expected to be built are Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron–three counties that in less than 20 years have seen five sheriffs and numerous top law enforcement officials sent to prison for receiving bribes from the Mexican Gulf Cartel, or other acts of public corruption.
The following are a few of the top law enforcement officials who were sent to prison or are currently being tried in corruption cases:
— Former La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez is facing various drug trafficking charges for allegedly helping Mexico’s Gulf Cartel move cocaine and marijuana in order to pay for his campaign to a higher office. Hernandez is still awaiting trial.
— Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino just finished serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to having taken money from convicted Mexican drug lord Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez in exchange for favors. During the investigation into Treviño’s dealings with Gonzalez, close to 20 Texas law enforcement officials pleaded guilty or were tried and convicted for various corrupt activities dealing with drug trafficking. Treviño’s son Jonathan Treviño is serving a 17-year prison sentence for being the de facto leader of a drug task force called Panama Unit that raided narcotics stash houses only to sell the seized contraband on the side.
— Former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu is serving a 24-year prison sentence for his role in protecting Gulf Cartel members living in his county and their businesses. Cantu helped protect the cartel’s drug trafficking, money laundering, and underground casinos.
— Former Starr County Sheriff Raymundo “Ray” Guerra spent 5 years and four months in prison for his role in helping members of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel move drugs freely through his county.
— Former Starr County Sheriff Eugenio “Gene” Falcon spent two years in prison for bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud. Falcon was accused by the FBI of taking bribes from a Starr County Bondsman in exchange for sending customers his way. However, according to news reports from the time, Falcon was known to have connections with Mexican drug lords and drug traffickers in the region. Falcon allegedly looked the other way since the drugs were moved through Starr County and were not distributed locally, as Texas Monthly reported in 1998.
— Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Brigido “Brig” Marmolejo was arrested and eventually convicted in 1994 after a 10-month long investigation. According to prosecutors, Marmolejo took a monthly $5,000 bribe and additional sums of money from top Mexican drug trafficker Homero Beltran Aguirre. The bribe was meant to earn preferential treatment for Beltran Aguirre who at the time he was being housed at the Hidalgo County Jail. Marmolejo would at times let Beltran Aguirre use his office so the drug lord could have conjugal visits from his wife or girlfriends. After serving his sentence, Marmolejo retired from the public eye.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.