Monday, April 21, 2014

Hidalgo Sheriff, associates plead guilty to money laundering, bribery related to drug trafficker

You know, the Sheriff's got his problems too.
He will surely take them out on you.
- Warren Zevon, Mohammed's Radio

Reported the Texas Tribune last week (April 17): "Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe 'Lupe' Treviño, a nine-year veteran of the office and a fixture of the region’s Democratic Party, pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges of money laundering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said the former lawman 'received cash contributions for his election campaign from alleged drug trafficker Tomas 'El Gallo' Gonzalez.'”

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.
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.”
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!


Anonymous said...

With each new story I read about public corruption the more I believe we need to start executing those officials once found guilty. Hope he somehow gets his in prison.

dfisher said...

It is curious that back in April 2005 Lupe Treviño and a sheriff captain broke into the home of Hidalgo CO Judge Ed Aparicio to find his dead body.

In 2005 Judge Aparicio, like sheriff Treviño now, was the target of an FBI anti-corruption investigation and sheriff Treviño was a close friend of Aparicio.

I took a close look at this case back in 2005 and came the conclusion the judge did not commit suicide, which is what the JP ruled it.

I suspect these two cases intersect at various points, but doubt anyone will go back and investigate.

doran said...

These guys just were not thinking it through.

The "drug trafficker" should have had someone in his organization form a couple of Texas corporations (without his name on them, of course). One of the corp sells lots of stock to individuals. The corp then takes some of the income from stock sales and makes the donations to the sheriff, careful to stay in line with reporting procedures.

Then the sheriff contracts with another of the "drug trafficker's" shell corporations for campaign advertising. QED

Think it hasn't been done already?

Don't be naïve.

Sound like something from Elmore Leonard? Well, of course it does.

Anonymous said...

Classic South Texas Law Enforcement. It is textbook "south of the border" government way of doing business.

diogenes said...

Just a month ago, the sheriff ran an ad on the radio personally endorsing the district attorney's re-election campaign.

I think we're still just seeing the tip of the iceberg on this one.