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  • Man Serving Time for Drug Trafficking Sentenced in Separate Case Play Video

    February 20, 2014 10:01 AM

    MCALLEN - A man already serving time in a San Antonio drug trafficking case was sentenced in a separate case this morning. A judge ordered Alvaro DeHoyos to serve 7.5 years in prison. This will run concurrently with the 10-year sentence he received in the San Antonio case. DeHoyos... more »
  • Family Sues Sheriff Over Panama Unit Raid Play Video

    February 19, 2014 8:44 PM

    EDINBURG - A family filed a lawsuit against Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino based on the actions of the now-disbanded Panama Unit. The lawsuit was filed last week and claims that members of the drug-interdiction unit illegally raided their home in 2012. The family also claims that they were... more »
  • Judge Postpones Sentencing for Members of Panama Unit Play Video

    February 19, 2014 8:38 PM

    McALLEN - A federal judge on Wednesday postponed sentencing for members of the now-disbanded Panama Unit. Several sheriff's deputies and Mission police officers were convicted of drug trafficking during their time in the drug-interdiction unit. Sentencing was rescheduled to April. more »
  • Hidalgo County Sheriff's Second-in-Command Arrested Play Video

    December 24, 2013 11:05 AM

    MCALLEN - Commander Jose Padilla of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office was arrested early this morning. He went before a federal judge hours later. Padilla is Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino's second-in-command. Padilla was named in an indictment and charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled... more »
  • Sentencing Rescheduled for Panama Unit Defendants Play Video

    December 18, 2013 1:17 PM

    MCALLEN - A judge rescheduled sentencing for 12 defendants in the Panama Unit case. The hearings were previously scheduled for tomorrow. Nine of 12 men indicted were convicted of using their law enforcement positions to help rip off narcotics loads from drug traffickers. The other three admitted to paying... more »
  • Judge Asked to Order Release of Audio Tapes in Panama Unit Case Play Video

    November 8, 2013 3:59 PM

    MCALLEN - CHANNEL 5 NEWS has new developments on a case linked to the Panama Unit. Attorneys are now asking a judge to order the release of audio tapes that could reveal more concerning a complaint against the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. CHANNEL 5 NEWS first heard about... more »
  • Sentencing Hearing Delayed for Disbanded Panama Unit Play Video

    October 15, 2013 8:57 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY - Twelve men convicted in a police corruption case will have to wait another two months before learning their fate. Sentencing hearings linked to the disbanded Panama narcotics unit were set for this Thursday. A federal judge rescheduled them for December 19. Nine of 12 men... more »
  • No Bond for Former Deputy Play Video

    August 8, 2013 4:21 PM

    McALLEN - A former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy will await his sentence behind bars. Jorge Garza was convicted earlier this week in a drug conspiracy involving members of a now-disbanded drug interdiction task force. Federal Judge Randy Crane said Garza's case does not meet certain criteria to allow... more »
  • Sheriff Trevino Speaks About Corruption Case

    August 6, 2013 10:47 PM

    EDINBURG - Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino on Tuesday spoke about the Panama Unit corruption scandal. Trevino spoke with CHANNEL 5 NEWS after the conviction of one of his former deputies, and the previous guilty pleas entered by other of his former subordinates and his own son. Trevino... more »
  • Court Records Detail Elaborate Drug Escort Scheme Play Video

    August 6, 2013 7:41 PM

    McALLEN - Federal court records reveal how former lawmen escorted drug loads throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Federal agents organized operations to gather evidence against nine then-lawmen. Federal officials said the men accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to escort and protect cocaine shipments. Federal investigators said... more »
  • Conviction Caps Lengthy Investigation into Corrupt Drug Unit Play Video

    August 6, 2013 7:36 PM

    McALLEN - A retired Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy on Tuesday was convicted on corruption charges. He was the only one from a group of former lawmen to go to trial in a corruption ploy involving a former drug interdiction task force. A jury found Jorge Garza guilty of conspiracy... more »
  • Testimony Sheds Light Into Corrupt Drug Unit Play Video

    August 5, 2013 7:57 PM

    McALLEN - Testimony on Monday shed light into how federal authorities took down a corrupt Hidalgo County drug interdiction unit. Former Hidalgo County Sheriff's Deputy Miguel Flores told jurors he contacted FBI agents after another deputy approached him about joining a scheme to steal drug loads from smugglers. ... more »
  • Testimony Continues in Former Lawman's Trial Play Video

    August 5, 2013 4:29 PM

    McALLEN - A former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy on Monday testified about his role in a corruption scheme involving the now-defunct Panama Unit drug interdiction task force. The former deputy, Miguel Flores, took the stand shortly after his former boss, Sheriff Lupe Trevino, finished his testimony. The testimony is... more »
  • Sheriff Summoned to Testify in the Drug Trafficking Trial Play Video

    August 2, 2013 10:07 PM

    HIDALGO COUNTY- Sheriff Lupe Trevino was the latest to be summoned to testify in the drug trafficking trial of his former deputy, Jorge Garza. Defense attorneys questioned the top cop for nearly four hours on Friday. His testimony provided a look at Joe Padilla. He's a current commander working... more »
  • Sheriff Testifies in Ex-Deputy's Drug Trafficking Trial Play Video

    August 2, 2013 12:53 PM

    MCALLEN - The Hidalgo County sheriff is testifying in the drug trafficking trial of one of his former deputies. Jorge Garza is accused of being part of a criminal enterprise comprised of lawmen and drug traffickers. Garza's attorneys subpoenaed Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino overnight. His testimony began around... more »
  • Ex-Deputy Claims Oppressive Work Environment Forced Him to Turn to Drug Trafficker Play Video

    August 1, 2013 1:02 PM

    MCALLEN - Testimony in a drug trafficking trial revealed the inner workings of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. Retired Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy Jorge Garza is accused of being part of a criminal enterprise comprised of lawmen and drug traffickers. The defense spent the morning questioning J.P. Flores, a... more »
  • Confessed Drug Dealers Testify at Former Deputy's Trial Play Video

    July 30, 2013 8:37 PM

    McALLEN - Witnesses on Tuesday told jurors how a former deputy would conduct staged traffic stops on vehicles loaded with drugs. The testimony was heard during the first day of the trial of Jorge Garza. The former Hidalgo County deputy sheriff is accused of working with drug traffickers. ... more »
  • Trafficker Testifies Against Former Deputy Play Video

    July 30, 2013 4:29 PM

    McALLEN - A self-admitted drug trafficker testified Tuesday in court that former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy Jorge Garza helped him and his father hijack drug loads. Fernando Guerra Jr. described to jurors how Garza would stage traffic stops to seal the drugs. Guerra's father, Fernando Guerra Sr., later... more »
  • Testimony Begins in Former Sheriff Deputy's Drug Case Play Video

    July 30, 2013 12:42 PM

    McALLEN - Testimony is under way in the trial of a former sheriff deputy accused of corruption. Prosecutors claim Jorge Garza took drugs from smugglers and resold them to traffickers. Judge Randy Crane denied a request by Garza's attorneys for a continuance in the case. The judge ruled... more »
  • Former Deputy To Go On Trial in Panama Unit Case Play Video

    July 29, 2013 7:10 PM

    McALLEN - A former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy accused of corruption will be the only one of several defendants to put his fate in the hands of a jury. Jorge Garza's trial will begin Tuesday. He is charged in the Panama Unit drug corruption scandal. Prosecutors said they... more »
  • 8th Ex-Law Enforcement Officer Pleads Guilty in Panama Unit Case Play Video

    July 24, 2013 12:31 PM

    MCALLEN - A former Mission officer pleaded guilty in connection with the Panama Unit case. Alexis Espinoza admitted he used his position as a law enforcement officer to traffic narcotics in 2012. A judge set the 30-year-old's sentencing for September 10. He faces up to life in prison and... more »
  • Former Investigator Expected to Plead Guilty Play Video

    July 24, 2013 9:19 AM

    MCALLEN - Another ex-law enforcement officer is expected to plead guilty in connection with the Panama Unit drug conspiracy. Alexis Espinoza, the son of Hidalgo Police Chief Rudy Espinoza, has a re-arraignment hearing scheduled this morning. Prosecutors claim he used his position as a Mission police officer to escort... more »
  • Panama Unit Defendant Expected to Plead Guilty Play Video

    July 23, 2013 4:26 PM

    McALLEN - The eleventh defendant in the Panama Unit case is expected to plead guilty to federal charges of corruption. Alexis Espinoza's attorney, Al Alvarez, said he is working out a deal ahead of a hearing set for Wednesday. Espinoza is a former narcotics investigator. He is one of... more »
  • Only 2 Headed to Trial after Latest Plea in Panama Unit Conspiracy Play Video

    July 11, 2013 7:50 PM

    MCALLEN - The former head of the Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers program admitted to his role in the Panama Unit corruption case. J.P. Flores is now waiting to learn his fate. He's not alone. Flores is the seventh Rio Grande Valley lawman to say he was part of a... more »
  • Former Lawman Pleads Guilty in Panama Unit Case Play Video

    July 11, 2013 12:52 PM

    McALLEN - A former lawman implicated in the Panama Unit drug interdiction task force scandal has pleaded guilty to one drug conspiracy charge. James Phill Flores, a retired Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy, is the eighth defendant to plead guilty in the case. Prosecutors said Garza worked with two... more »
  • 6th Former Lawmen Pleads Guilty in Panama Unit Conspiracy Case Play Video

    June 28, 2013 11:50 AM

    MCALLEN - Two more guilty pleas were entered in connection with the Panama Unit conspiracy case this morning. Fabian Rodriguez, a former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. He's the sixth former law enforcement officer who pleaded... more »
  • Some Drug Cases to be Dismissed after Guilty Pleas in Panama Unit Case Play Video

    May 31, 2013 1:05 PM

    EDINBURG - Dozens of criminal cases are being tossed out of court after this week's guilty pleas in the Panama Unit corruption investigation. Former law enforcement officers Jonathan Treviño, Salvador Arguello, Claudio Mata and Eric Alcantar pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy. Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene... more »
  • Hidalgo County Sheriff Vows to Fight Corruption Play Video

    May 29, 2013 8:09 PM

    EDINBURG - Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino on Wednesday reacted to the guilty pleas entered by his son, three of his former deputies and a former Mission police officer. The men pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges. The men admitted in federal court that they took drug loads from... more »
  • Panama Unit Members Could Face Life in Prison Play Video

    May 29, 2013 5:11 PM

    McALLEN - Five members of a former drug task force could face up to life in prison after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy charges. A federal judge on Wednesday accepted the guilty pleas from five of the nine members of the former drug interdiction taskforce known as the Panama... more »
  • Couple Files Suit against Mission PD, Sheriff's Office Play Video

    May 29, 2013 4:28 PM

    McALLEN - A couple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Mission Police Department and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department in connection with a raid by the former drug interdiction taskforce known as the Panama Unit. Jose and Maria Guadalupe Perez said members of the now-defunct unit illegally raided... more »
  • 5 Defendants in Panama Unit Case Reach Plea Agreement Play Video

    May 29, 2013 10:00 AM

    MCALLEN - Five of the defendants in the Panama Unit drug conspiracy case have reached a plea agreement. The following defendants pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge: Jonathan Trevino Salvador Arguello Claudio Mata Eric Alcantar The drug conspiracy charge was part of... more »
  • 9 Defendants in Panama Unit Case Headed Back to Court Play Video

    May 29, 2013 8:03 AM

    MCALLEN - Nine of the 12 suspects in a drug conspiracy are scheduled to appear in court today. The case involves the now-defunct drug task force known as the Panama Unit. Six of the suspects returning to court today are former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies. Three others are suspected... more »
  • 9 in Panama Unit Case Scheduled for Re-Arraignment Play Video

    May 28, 2013 1:07 PM

    MCALLEN - Nine of 12 co-defendants involved in the Panama Unit case are getting ready for court hearings tomorrow. Court documents show they're set for re-arraignment. The Panama Unit is the name of a now-defunct drug task force. Six ex-Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies and three suspected drug traffickers are... more »
  • Suspect in Panama Unit Case Granted Bond Play Video

    May 1, 2013 1:01 PM

    MCALLEN - A man accused of bribing several Hidalgo County lawmen will soon be out of jail. Fernando Guerra Jr., along with his father, is facing charges for allegedly paying the lawmen to protect and steal drug loads. The father and son were named with 10 other people in... more »
  • Former Panama Unit Members Plead Not Guilty Play Video

    April 12, 2013 4:00 PM

    McALLEN - The members of a former drug interdiction unit pleaded not guilty to drug conspiracy charges. Seven of the nine former members of Hidalgo County's disbanded Panama Unit entered the pleas in a federal court Friday in McAllen. The former lawmen are accused in a corruption case.... more »
  • Retired Deputy Granted Bond

    March 27, 2013 12:44 PM

    MCALLEN - A federal judge placed a retired sheriff's deputy under house arrest. J.P. Flores was granted bond at one of his first hearings this morning. Prosecutors accuse Flores of misusing his former position as the head of the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Crime Stoppers program. He allegedly worked with... more »
  • Latest Panama Unit Defendant in Court

    March 22, 2013 12:41 PM

    MCALLEN - A retired Hidalgo County sheriff's sergeant faced a judge today in connection with the Panama Unit drug conspiracy. James Phil Flores remains in custody. He was formerly part of the sheriff department's Crime Stoppers program. A newly released criminal complaint accuses Flores of using his position... more »
  • Retired Sheriff's Sergeant Linked to Panama Unit Case

    March 22, 2013 9:16 AM

    MCALLEN - A retired Hidalgo County sheriff's sergeant is now linked to the Panama Unit drug conspiracy. James Phil Flores headed up the Crime Stoppers tips line at the sheriff's office. He retired in December, after 28 years of work. That's the same time several of his colleagues who... more »
  • Convicted Felon Named in Panama Unit Indictment

    March 20, 2013 1:05 PM

    MCALLEN - A convicted felon was added to the list of defendants in the Panama Unit case. The Panama Unit is a now-defunct drug task force in Hidalgo County. Seven former members are accused of taking bribes and escorting drug loads. Alvaro Dehoyos is the 10th defendant in the... more »
  • Bond Set for Trio Added to Panama Unit Case

    March 14, 2013 1:24 PM

    MCALLEN - Most of the members of a now-defunct drug taskforce were in federal court today. A judge set bond for former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies Salvador Arguello, Claudio Mata and Eric Alcantar. They may soon be out on a $100,000 bond. The trio was added to an... more »
  • Ex-Deputies to Remain in Jail Until Bond Hearings

    March 8, 2013 12:04 PM

    MCALLEN - The three latest suspects added to the Panama Unit case will be spending the weekend in jail. Former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies Salvador Arguello, Claudio Mata and Eric Alcantar all made an initial court appearance this morning. Arguello asked for the court to appoint an attorney because... more »
  • Panama Unit Case Grows

    March 6, 2013 7:46 PM

    McALLEN - A superseding indictment was handed down Wednesday in a case involving former Rio Grande Valley lawmen and alleged drug smugglers. A grand jury indicted three more ex-Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies in connection with the now-disbanded Panama Unit drug taskforce case. Three others were also named in Wednesday's... more »
  • More Charged in Connection with Panama Unit Case

    March 6, 2013 4:28 PM

    MCALLEN - A grand jury handed down an indictment, which charges three more ex-Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies in connection with the Panama Unit case. Salvador Joel Arguello, Claudio Alberto Mata, and Eric Michael Alcantar were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms... more »
  • More Delays in Panama Unit Case

    March 1, 2013 1:03 PM

    MCALLEN - More delays were announced in the trial for four ex-members of a drug taskforce unit. Jonathan Trevino, Alexis Espinoza and Gerardo Duran walked out of court free on bond. The fourth defendant, Fabian Rodriguez, is behind bars, after a judge revoked his bond two weeks ago. ... more »
  • Ex-Panama Unit Member to Remain in Jail

    February 22, 2013 1:41 PM

    MCALLEN - A former member of the now-disbanded drug taskforce will stay in jail. An FBI agent told a judge Fabian Rodriguez directly contacted Gerardo Duran, a co-defendant in the case. This is the second violation of the terms of his bond. Last week, a judge revoked Rodriguez's... more »
  • No Leniency for Former Panama Unit Member

    February 14, 2013 9:16 PM

    McALLEN - A federal judge on Thursday said he will not make any exceptions for the members of the now-disbanded Panama Unit. The judge revoked the bond for one of the four former lawmen arrested after an investigation into wrongdoing by members of the unit. A grand jury... more »
  • Bond Revoked for Ex-Panama Unit Member

    February 14, 2013 12:37 PM

    MCALLEN - A former narcotics officer is heading to jail, after his bond was revoked. Fabian Rodriguez is one of four members of the now-defunct Panama Unit accused of helping escort drug loads. A federal judge ruled Rodriguez violated a condition of release by indirectly sending a message to... more »
  • Trial Date Set for Former Lawmen

    January 18, 2013 12:55 PM

    McALLEN - A trial date has been set for four former lawmen accused of accepting bribes to escort drug loads. Fabian Rodriguez, Johathan Trevino, Alexis Espinoza and Gerardo Mendoza-Duran will be in court on March 1 for a pre-trial hearing. Jury selection will happen on March 5. A... more »
  • Panama Unit Members Indicted

    January 9, 2013 4:25 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... more »
  • Sheriff Closing Drug Taskforce Involved in Federal Investigation

    January 7, 2013 1:10 PM

    EDINBURG - Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino confirmed he's closing the Panama Unit. The drug taskforce is now the target of a federal investigation. The Panama Unit made headlines in November, when four of its members were arrested on federal drug charges. The four were accused of escorting drug... more »
  • 2 Ex-Officers to be Released on Bond

    December 17, 2012 1:04 PM

    MCALLEN - Two former law enforcement officers accused of taking bribes are set to be released on bond today. A total of four men are accused of providing escorts for drug loads in exchange for money. The suspects were members of the Hidalgo County drug task force called the... more »
  • Sheriff: 5 Deputies Who Resigned Part of Investigation

    December 17, 2012 9:55 AM

    EDINBUG - Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said he's asked for and received the resignation of five deputies. The deputies were part of a drug task force known as the Panama Unit. The sheriff said the five deputies who resigned are part of an investigation that has already led... more »
  • Lawmen Implicated in Drug Case were Part of Special Unit

    December 13, 2012 5:47 PM

    EDINBURG - Four Rio Grande Valley lawmen charged in a drug conspiracy case were members of a special drug team dubbed the Panama Unit. Hidalgo County officials said the task force was created to target drug trafficking. The unit is comprised of Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies and Mission police... more »

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