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Four Officers Charged with Escorting Loads of Narcotics

This news story was published on December 15, 2012.
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MCALLEN, TX—Two complaints have been filed charging two deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and two Mission Police Department (MPD) officers in a drug conspiracy, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

MPD officer Alexis Espinoza, 29, of Alamo, was arrested last night and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos this morning. A decision on bond has not yet been determined by the court.

A second complaint was filed later this morning charging McAllen resident Jonathan Trevino, 28, also from MPD, and Fabian Rodriguez, 28, of Edinburg, and Gerardo Duran, 30, of Pharr, both with the HCSO. They were arrested just a short time ago and are expected to appear before Judge Ramos tomorrow morning.

Earlier this year, agents learned that members of the HCSO Panama Unit were involved in the distribution of narcotics, according to the court documents. The Panama Unit is a task force designed to target narcotics trafficking in Hidalgo County and is composed of law enforcement officers from HCSO and MPD. The investigation revealed that members of the Panama Unit, including Trevino, Espinoza, Rodriguez, and Duran, allegedly utilized their positions as law enforcement personnel to escort and protect loads of narcotics and were paid for their services.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Office of Professional Responsibility, the Texas Rangers, and Department of Justice-Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Anibal Alanis and James Sturgis are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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