Former Law Enforcement Officers Convicted
HOUSTON – A federal jury in Houston has convicted two law enforcement officers and a confidential source on drug trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
The jury deliberated for approximately four hours before convicting Carmen Saldaňa Meyer, a 64-year-old resident of Mission; and former Edinburg Police Department officer Hector Beltran, 44, and former Border Patrol agent Daniel Polanco, 38, both of Edinburg.
The jury heard the investigation began in 2011 when authorities targeted a drug trafficking organization involved in stealing loads of cocaine from sources of supply. The organization had created fake bundles of drugs and used law enforcement officers to seize them in order to cover up the theft.
During the two-week trial, the government presented evidence that Beltran and Polanco abused their positions of trust as law enforcement officers to further the conspiracy. The jury heard they had seized fake bundles of cocaine and provided co-conspirators with police reports of the seizure.
Meyer was an FBI confidential source and would deliver the seizure paperwork to Gulf Cartel associates in Mexico as proof law enforcement had seized the cocaine as opposed to being stolen and sold.
The jury heard Beltran, Polanco and Meyer all received a payment from drug proceeds.
All three defendants testified at trial and denied participating in the scheme.
The did not believe their claims and convicted all three of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Polanco and Meyer were also found guilty of one and two counts, respectively of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Polanco was further convicted of making a false statement to federal agents, while Meyer was also found guilty of kidnapping.
All face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a possible $10 million fine. U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison has sentencing for Oct. 8, 2019.
Beltran and Polanco were permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing. Meyer has been and will remain in custody.
Nine others, including a former Houston Police Department officer and a former officer with the Harris County Constable’s Office have previously pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Operation Blue Shame. Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey N. MacDonald and Anibal J. Alaniz are prosecuting the case.