The ties between elected officials and the Mexican transnational criminal organizations we call “cartels” do not stop at the U.S.-Mexico border. In many instances, such corruption manifested on the north side of the line. We detail below five such instances where Texas border sheriffs were indicted and sentenced to prison for such ties.
1. Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino
Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino is 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 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.
2. Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Brigido “Brig” Marmolejo
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.
3. Former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu
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.
4. Former Starr County Sheriff Raymundo “Ray” Guerra
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.
5. Eugenio “Gene” Falcon
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, Texas Monthly reported in 1998.
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.
Brandon Darby is 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.