Over the weekend (April 20), the McAllen Monitor followed up with a discussion of the implications of the Sheriff's plea for related civil litigation alleging that a former political opponent of the Sheriff is entitled to receive twice the amount of the alleged bribes from Treviño as compensation:
[On] Jan. 30, former candidate for sheriff Robert Caples sued then-Sheriff Lupe Treviño alleging that in the 2012 election, the incumbent received cash donations from Weslaco drug trafficker Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez.
So the Hidalgo County Sheriff, his campaign manager and a top commander in the office have all pled guilty to bribery or money laundering charges related to laundering campaign contributions from an alleged drug runner, doctoring campaign reports to cover up the transactions. What a friggin' mess!Gonzalez gave the cash to sheriff’s Cmdr. Jose Padilla, who took it to Treviño, who then consulted with District Attorney Rene Guerra and deposited the money into his campaign bank account, from which the sheriff wrote a check to Gonzalez that was never cashed, according to the lawsuit.The allegations in the lawsuit mirror the facts of a case in which Treviño pleaded guilty to the charge of money laundering this past Monday before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez.Three days before Treviño’s plea, his chief of staff, Maria Patricia Medina, went before Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa and entered a similar plea to the charge of failing to report a felony. During the hearing she admitted to doctoring the campaign reports.Most recently Padilla went before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane and pleaded guilty to the charge of bribery, admitting to having taken approximately $90,000 from Gonzalez in exchange for law enforcement information and protection.“He admitted in federal court to the same facts that are listed in our lawsuit,” said Javier Peña, the attorney representing Caples. “If you look at the Election Code, not reporting the contributions is a violation and my client is entitled to twice the amount of the violation.”