Wednesday, January 9, 2013



Note: the problem is not limited to Hidalgo County, TX
Some sources tell us the Culture of Corruption is becoming
pervasive. On this side of the border. It starts at the top, DC and

Sheriff will abolish troubled 'Panama Unit'

Under house arrest, sheriff's son asks permission to drink
On Dec. 27, Jonathan C. Treviño, 28, petitioned the court for
permission to drink alcohol while under house arrest.
Defendant has not exhibited an alcohol abuse problem and
respectfully requests (the conditions) be amended to prohibit
excessive use of alcohol," according to the court filing. U.S.
Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos denied Treviño's request on Friday.

Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 5:52 pm | Updated: 6:43 pm, Sat Jan
5, 2013.

Sheriff will abolish troubled 'Panama Unit'
Dave Hendricks |
Posted on January 5, 2013

McALLEN — Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño says the department's
troubled "Panama Unit" — a special narcotics squad now under federal
investigation for playing both sides of the law — will be dissolved

Treviño ordered an internal investigation into the narcotics squad
after federal agents caught two deputies and two Mission police
officers, including the sheriff's son, accepting bribes to guard drug
shipments, according to court records.

On Monday, Treviño said he'll meet with command staff to discuss the
findings and formally dissolve the Panama Unit.

"We're not going to revive the unit," Treviño said, and manpower
assigned to the narcotics squad will be re-assigned.

The federal investigation started in August, when FBI agents received
a tip the Panama Unit was "involved in the distribution of
narcotics," according to court records.

An informant met with Deputy Gerardo Duran, who accepted $4,000 to
escort a vehicle carrying 20 kilograms of cocaine from McAllen
through the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint, according to court
records. Federal agents conducted several sting operations, which
showed other lawmen had become involved:

>> Mission police Investigator Jonathan C. Treviño, 28, the
sheriff's son, who was assigned to the Panama Unit.

>> Mission police Officer Alexis R. Espinoza, 29, who was assigned
to an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement task force. Espinoza's
father, Rudy Espinoza, left the Sheriff's Office in October to become
Hidalgo's police chief.

>> Deputy Fabian Rodriguez, who was assigned to the Panama Unit.

Federal agents took them into custody during mid-December,
essentially gutting the Panama Unit. The next day, Sheriff Treviño
asked several other deputies, who haven't been charged with any
crime, to resign effective immediately. All three agreed.

The Monitor obtained their resignation letters through a public
information request. They are:

>> Deputy Salvador Arguello, who was assigned to the Panama Unit.

>> Deputy Eric Alcantar, who was assigned to the Panama Unit.

>> Deputy Claudio Mata, who was suspended without pay and removed
from the unit for failing to property store evidence, Treviño said.

At Monday's command staff meeting, Sheriff Treviño said the
department will divvy up the Panama Unit's resources and consider
what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken against the unit's
supervisor, Sgt. Roy Mendez.

"We're continuing to investigate internally," Sheriff Treviño said,
broadening the focus to include all special units. "I am not going to
leave any stone unturned. We are conducting a very thorough internal
probe to see if anything or anybody else was involved."

To weed out bad apples, Sheriff Treviño said the department will
start a "suitability evaluation program" for deputies assigned to
special units.

Deputies will answer questions about their on- and off-duty
activities, Sheriff Treviño said, and be quizzed about the answers
during a polygraph exam. Initially, Sheriff Treviño said the process
will include both current and former members of special units.

Anyone who doesn't pass the exam will face discipline, including
possible termination, Sheriff Treviño said, describing the system as
a "proactive self-cleansing internal mechanism."

In addition, Sheriff Treviño said he'll continue the department's
aggressive drug testing program.

Deputies assigned to specialized units must pass four random drug
tests annually, Sheriff Treviño said.

To start 2013 fresh, Sheriff Treviño said about 360 deputies took
drug tests before starting or leaving work on Thursday. The
department's remaining employees will take drug tests during the
coming weeks.


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