Posted: Apr 14, 2014 11:40 AM
Updated: Apr 14, 2014 2:48 PM
MCALLEN - A judge set a $30,000 bond for former Hidalgo County sheriff Lupe Trevino. This morning, Trevino pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted to accepting cash contributions for his 2012 election campaign from Tomas "El Gallo" Gonzalez, knowing the funds came from drug trafficking.
The money was deposited into bank accounts and false campaign finance reports were filed to make it look like the money was not under Trevino's control, when it actually was. The amount of money, according to prosecutors, was between $70,000 and $120,000.
When entering his plea on the charges, Trevino said no promises or threats had induced him to plead guilty. After his plea, Trevino was rushed to another courtroom, where a judge set his bond.
He faces up to 20 years in prison, although his sentencing range under the federal sentencing guidelines will likely be much lower. His sentencing is set for July 17.
That's two weeks after the sentencing date for Maria Patricia Medina, Trevino's former chief of staff and campaign treasurer. She faces up to three years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. Medina pleaded guilty last week to covering up a felony. She admitted to helping Trevino cover up Gonzalez's cash campaign donations by falsifying election records.
This afternoon, Trevino's replacement Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra sent out the following statement:
It is regrettable that former Sheriff Trevino's legacy will be tainted forever.
It is disheartening to know that a man's entire law enforcement career; everything positive that he accomplished is wiped away with a plea of Guilty.
In Law Enforcement more than any other profession, we are held to a higher standard. A standard based on trust. Trust that the people of this County depend upon to keep them safe from evils that lurk outside their doors and to be there to protect them in their most desperate hours.
The trust our community has in the Sheriff's Office has been shaken to its very core. Story after story of misdealing and criminal acts has the community weary in their belief of what we stand for.
I will not make excuses for the former Sheriff, I cannot. I can tell you that your Sheriff's Office is staffed with hard working, honest men and women that have been battling to regain the dignity they once had. We (Community Leaders, the honest hard working men and women of the Sheriff's and I) will forge ahead with what we started; the long road to regain the public's trust, to restore faith in our Sheriff's Office and County and most importantly, the honor and integrity of the men and women of your Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.