Monday, December 17, 2012



Sources: Corruption probe targets top cops' sons

Joel Martinez
Mission police Chief Martin Garza speaks to the media during a news
conference late Wednesday night at Mission Police Department in
Mission. Federal agents Wednesday arrested Jonathan Treviño, son of
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, and Alexis Espinoza, son of
Hidalgo police Chief Rudy Espinoza, three area law enforcement
officials confirmed.

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 9:04 pm | Updated: 12:31 pm, Thu
Dec 13, 2012.
by Jared Taylor

MISSION — Two Mission narcotics investigators have been arrested
alongside other local law enforcement officers in a federal
corruption probe focusing on drug loads stolen from the criminals
they had been tasked with taking down, law enforcement officials told
The Monitor.
Federal agents Wednesday arrested Jonathan Treviño, son of Hidalgo
County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, and Alexis Espinoza, son ofHidalgopolice
Chief Rudy Espinoza, three area law enforcement officials confirmed.
Federal agents searched the Mission Police Department, where they
searched and seized narcotics investigators' "documents and other
items" late Wednesday evening, Mission police Chief Martin Garza
said. Two unmarked white pickup trucks with tinted windows were seen
leaving the police department as local television stations arrived
after 9 p.m.
"The actions of these two officers should not detract from the
actions of the 146 officers that devote their lives and careers to
the department," Garza said.
Garza, who did not identify the investigators or confirm their
arrests, said they have been suspended pending the outcome of the
federal investigation. The chief declined to disclose any details
about the federal case.
Agents have obtained at least seven arrest warrants in the case, with
at least four law enforcement officers believed to be in federal
custody Wednesday night, a law enforcement officer familiar with the
case said.
At least two others targeted in the federal probe are believed to be
Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies assigned to the narcotics division,
two law enforcement officials said.
"They're buddies," one law enforcement official said of the Mission
officers. Jonathan "has gone unsupervised since the get-go."
Details of the investigation, headed by the FBI, remain unclear. No
federal court filings detailing search or arrest warrants, nor any
open criminal case files, had been filed late Wednesday night in U.S.
District Court in McAllen.
Spokespersons for the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
declined to comment Wednesday night.
"I can't confirm or deny anything," FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said.
Several attempts to reach Sheriff Treviño and Espinoza, formerly a
sheriff's captain before becoming Hidalgo's top cop in October, were
unsuccessful Wednesday night.
The federal probe involves a local task force between Hidalgo County
and Mission police known as the Panama Unit, two law enforcement
officials said.
"It's just going to get real, real nasty, real, real quick," an area
law enforcement investigator said of fallout in Mission police and
the Sheriff's Office.
Jonathan Treviño works as a narcotics investigator paid by Mission
police assigned to the Panama Unit. Alexis Espinoza also works
alongside the sheriff's son at Mission police as a task force officer
assigned to ICE.
Widespread allegations of wrongdoing involving Jonathan Treviño have
circulated among local police departments for years, but they have
failed to see light — until Wednesday.
"With all the problems he's had, they should have kicked Jonathan out
years ago," the official said.
Federal agents have been investigating the local task force since at
least July, focusing on reports of drug loads stolen from traffickers
only to be resold on the black market.
Whether the probe into the younger Treviño will have political
ramifications for his father remains to be seen.
Re-elected last month, Sheriff Treviño has maintained close
relationships with the federal agencies locally and nationally, where
he serves as vice chairman of the Southwest Border Task Force, a 20-
member advisory panel launched by Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano in 2009.
Jonathan Treviño has worked at Mission police since April 2006,
earning a salary of $41,204, according to city salary records
released to The Monitor in March 2012. No record for Espinoza exists
on that document.
"Everybody knew that kid was dirty," the investigator said of
Jonathan Treviño. "It was just a matter of making a case.
"It's been a long, long time coming."

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