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Panama Unit Members Indicted

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Posted: Jan 9, 2013 3:25 PM

Updated: Jan 9, 2013 3:52 PM

McALLEN - A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted four former members of Hidalgo County's now-disbanded Panama Unit.

The grand jury returned a six-count indictment against Jonathan Trevino, Alexis Rigoberto Espinoza, Fabian Rodriguez and Gerardo Mendoza-Duran.

The indictment includes one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, which charges all four men, as well as five substantive counts of attempting to aid and abet the possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Espinoza and Duran are charged with four of the substantive counts, while Trevino and Rodriguez were indicted on one of those charges.

Trevino, 28, Espinoza, 29, Rodriguez, 28, and Mendoza-Duran, 30, were charged in December and arrested following a multi-agency investigation conducted during 2012.

The indictment alleges Trevino and Espinoza, former officers with the Mission Police Department, along with Rodriguez and Duran, former deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, attempted to use their positions in law enforcement to assist drug traffickers with the distribution of cocaine.

On several occasions in October and November, the defendants allegedly provided protective escorts for suspected loads of cocaine as they traveled throughout Hidalgo County.

Trevino is the son of Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino and Espinoza is the son of Hidalgo Police Chief Rudy Espinoza.

If convicted, the four face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison, along with a possible fine of up to $10 million.

Topics: jonathan trevino, alexis rigoberto espinoza, fabian rodriguez, gerardo mendoza duran, panama unit, hidalgo county, corruption, lupe trevino

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