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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Former Sheriff Ordered To Prison

McALLEN, Texas - Guadalupe Trevino, aka Lupe Trevino, has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Trevino, 64, of McAllen, was the former sheriff of Hidalgo County and pleaded guilty April 14, 2014.

“No one is above the law,” said Magidson. “Those entrusted with protecting the public safety have a specific duty to guard against corruption. When they become crooked themselves, the interests of the people demand full accounting for their illegal activities.”

Calling this day a “sad” one for Hidalgo County, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez upwardly departed from the recommended guidelines and handed Trevino a 60-month term of imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a $60,000 fine and will serve a two-year-term of supervised release following completion of the prison sentence.

“The sentencing of the former Hidalgo County sheriff is the culmination of a long-term investigation into corruption and the violation of public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. “While the local community mourns this violation, they're now able to put this chapter behind them.”

Jose A. Padilla, of Weslaco, a former deputy commander with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office who served under the leadership of Trevino pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe, in a separate, but related case. Nine others, including drug trafficker Tomas Reyes Gonzalez aka “El Gallo,” were convicted in relation to the underlying narcotics/money laundering conspiracy. They will all be sentenced Sept. 18, 2014, by U.S District Judge Randy Crane. 

The investigation revealed that from 2007 to 2013, Reyes Gonzalez headed a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. The narcotics were transported from the Rio Grande Valley to Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Reyes Gonzalez used the resulting drug proceeds to purchase properties.

Trevino admitted he received cash contributions for his election campaign through Padilla from Reyes Gonzalez, acknowledging he accepted the money knowing it was from illegal activities. At the time of his guilty plea, Padilla also admitted he received cash from Reyes Gonzalez in exchange for providing information to him related to ongoing law enforcement activities.

Trevino admitted he accepted the monies directly and through others as donations to assist with his 2012 election campaign. Some of the monies received were subsequently deposited into bank accounts Trevino controlled and were comingled with other funds. During and after the transactions, Trevino and others acted to disguise and conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the currency by filing false Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Reports and producing other documents.

Trevino’s former chief of staff and campaign treasurer, Maria Patricia Medina, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, admitting she assisted Trevino in the concealment of the donations by falsifying election records. She will be sentenced July 23, 2014, by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa.
 
The overall investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz prosecuted the case.

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Updated April 30, 2015