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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Charged In Panama Unit Case

A Defendant Is Presumed Innocent Unless And Until Convicted Through Due Process Of Law.

McALLEN, Texas – A federal grand jury has handed down a superseding indictment in the case involving the former task force dubbed the “Panama Unit,” United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

The superceding indictment, returned just moments ago, charges several additional members of the former task force as well as three other individuals, for various drug and theft charges.

In January 2013, a federal grand jury charged Jonathan Christian Trevino, 28, Alexis Rigoberto Espinoza, 29, Fabian Rodriguez, 28, and Gerardo Mendoza-Duran, 30, with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

Today, former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Deputies Salvador Joel Arguello, 34, Claudio Alberto Mata, 34, and Eric Michael Alcantar, 29, were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. The trio was also charged in several substantive counts of possession with the intent to distribute more than multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine.

The superceding indictment also includes one count of theft of government property against Trevino, Rodriguez and Arguello. 

Fernando Guerra Sr., 57, Fernando Guerra Jr., 24, and Alvaro Gilberto DeHoyos, 25, were also charged in the indictment today with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.   

All the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, along with a potential fine up to $10 million.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Professional Responsibility, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Rangers and Department of Justice – Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Anibal Alanis and James Sturgis are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

Updated April 30, 2015