Former Police Lieutenant Sentenced to Federal Prison
McALLEN, Texas ‐ A former lieutenant with the Edcouch Police Department (EPD) has been ordered to federal prison for drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Vicente Salinas, 43, of Elsa, pleaded guilty Dec. 5, 2016, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.
Today, U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa ordered Salinas to serve 39 months in prison. In imposing the sentence, the court ruled Salinas abused his position of trust to facilitate the drug trafficking offense. Judge Hinojosa further noted that when police officers commit crimes, it effects the community more than just the impact of that one offense - it erodes the trust the community has with law enforcement. Salinas will also serve two years of supervised release.
On March 18, 2013, Salinas received information which led to the seizure of 15 bundles of cocaine. The drugs were stored at EPD for several days, but then transported to the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Upon initial inspection, officers discovered four of the bundles contained blocks of wood.
Salinas admitted he had participated in the theft. He confessed he was part of a scheme to steal the bundles shortly after officers initially logged the 15 bundles into evidence. They were replaced with bundles containing the wood blocks so that no one would detect the theft.
Salinas was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS - Criminal Investigation conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation which was dubbed Operation Blue Shame. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anibal J. Alaniz and Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.