Friday, May 31, 2013



Police find pot stash house at Phoenix apartment
Posted: May 29, 2013 10:23 AM MST
Updated: May 29, 2013 10:29 AM MST
By Jose Miguel - bio | email
Posted by Steve Stout - email

Phoenix police lead one of the men who claimed he was tied up during
a home invasion Wednesday to a waiting patrol car. (Source: CBS 5 News)

Police found about 200 pounds of marijuana at the Phoenix apartment
complex. They said the intruders stole three vans full of pot.
(Source: CBS 5 News)

Police responding to a domestic disturbance call Wednesday morning
found what they believed was a stash house for marijuana.

A police spokesman said that officers were initially responding to a
call for a fight at a unit within an apartment complex about 3 a.m.
near 20th Street and Beardsley Road.

Five men were found tied up inside the unit. They told police that
six to 10 men broke into their home and tied them up. At least one of
the men in the house was physically attacked.

While searching the apartment unit, police found approximately 200
pounds of marijuana. When they questioned the residents, they
learned that the intruders not only tied up the men in the house, but
also stole three vans full of marijuana.

The residents also told police they were in the Valley illegally and
had only been here about a week, the spokesman said.

Police said they don't know how much marijuana was stolen by the

All five residents were taken into custody and were being questioned
by police. They face possible charges of possession of marijuana for
sale, as well as federal charges for entering the United States

Stay with and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

5 lawmen plead guilty to drug charges in Panama Unit probe
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:00 am
Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor

McALLEN — Five former law enforcement officials Wednesday pleaded
guilty to their role in ripping off drug loads from drug dealers and
selling them to an alleged drug trafficker.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño — whose son, former Mission
police Detective Jonathan Treviño, was among the five ex-lawmen
entering guilty pleas Wednesday — said that no one is above the law.
"There are consequences for all the actions that you take," the
sheriff said Wednesday after the hearing at federal court in McAllen.
"This morning, everybody accepted responsibility for their actions
and we will see what punishment the court system decides."
Jonathan Treviño and former sheriff's deputies Salvador Arguello,
Claudio Mata and Eric Alcantar each pleaded guilty to one count of
conspiracy to possess more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, more than
1,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
Those four lawmen were part of a narcotics group called the Panama
Unit, which comprised sheriff's deputies and Mission police
detectives and — according to court records — was stealing drugs from
drug runners and selling them to a separate drug dealer for a profit.
Former deputy Gerardo Duran, who was not part of the Panama Unit,
pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the possession of
narcotics for his role in the escorting of drug loads at least four
times in exchange for $4,000 per trip. The charges to which the five
lawmen pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal are punishable by a term
of 10 years to life in prison.
After the pleas were heard by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane on
Wednesday, the former lawmen were supposed to be remanded to the
custody of the U.S. Marshals Service because of the severity of the
charges. However, Crane allowed them to remain out on bond after
speaking with them in a private conference.
The five are set to be sentenced Sept. 2 by Crane, who warned them
that he didn't have to abide by the agreement they had made with
prosecutors and he could issue a stiffer sentence.
Four other former lawmen are still awaiting trial in the case: former
Mission police Detective Alexis Espinoza, as well as former deputies
Fabian Rodriguez, Jorge Garza and James Phil Flores, who was the head
of the sheriff's Crime Stoppers tip line. Espinoza is the son of
Hidalgo police Chief Rudy Espinoza.
Alleged drug traffickers Fernando Guerra, Fernando Guerra Jr. and
Alvaro Gilberto de Hoyos have also been charged with various drug
conspiracy charges.
During the Wednesday morning hearing, both Guerras told Crane that
they were going to plead to one of the drug conspiracy charges,
however they were working out the details of the plea agreement with
prosecutors. Crane pushed back their hearing to a later date.
According to court records, the scheme worked like this: The elder
Guerra would be contacted by drug smugglers who needed his help to
get drug shipments past the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints north of
Hidalgo County. He would agree to meet the dealers at a certain
location — only to then call Flores, who would notify the Panama Unit
about the loaded vehicle or home where the drugs would be stashed.
The lawmen then would raid the home or intercept the vehicle, making
it seem as if it were a legitimate police action, and then would turn
around and sell the drugs to the elder Guerra.
One of the witnesses for the prosecution, Juan Vasquez Vega, provided
the FBI with an affidavit stating that he had been arrested by the
Panama Unit, whose members had seized 2 kilograms of cocaine as well
as $20,000 but had only reported the seizure of a small quantity of

Miguel Flores, a current deputy who used to work narcotics and has
been moved to patrol, claims to have been the whistleblower who
worked with FBI investigators by wearing a wire while infiltrating
the Panama Unit. While Flores is not mentioned in any court document
in the criminal case, he filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Hidalgo
County and Lupe Treviño as sheriff of the county, alleging that his
undercover work has led to retaliation and demotion.
Flores claims that he was asked by two members of the Panama Unit to
participate in drug trafficking activities while he worked with the FBI.
Asked about the lawsuit Tuesday, the sheriff deferred comment to
county officials who said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Man, woman allegedly had drugs, weapons at NM Border Patrol checkpoint

Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times
Posted: 05/29/2013 04:01:08 PM MDT

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a man and a woman from Ohio who
allegedly had three pipe bombs, marijuana and firearms in a sport
utility vehicle on Monday at the Highway 70 checkpoint west of
Alamogordo, officials said Wednesday.
Border Patrol officials said Lloyd Jonathan Fry and his passenger
Ronna Ma Rey Milan Antipatia were arrested on charges of possession
of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a
destructive device.
Antipatia is a citizen of the Phillipines and Fry is a U.S. citizen.
Officials said that a drug-sniffing dog alerted agents to a Mercedes
SUV and a trailer it was pulling.
Agents allegedly found 20 pounds of marijuana in mason jars, three
pipe bombs, a .40-caliber handgun, an AK-47 rifle and equipment
allegedly used to grow marijuana. New Mexico State Police partially
closed the highway until a Doña Ana County explosives team safely
detonated the bombs.


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