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Former Edinburg police officer sentenced to 10 years in prison

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, February 05 2020 Feb 5, 2020 February 05, 2020 12:10 PM February 05, 2020 in News - Local

HOUSTON — A judge sentenced a former Edinburg police officer to 10 years in prison Wednesday for providing assistance to drug traffickers.

U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced former Edinburg police Officer Hector Beltran, 44, of Edinburg to 10 years in prison during a hearing Wednesday morning in Houston.

"Testimony at trial showed Beltran personally conducted and assisted other law enforcement agencies with the seizure of approximately 600 kilograms of fake marijuana and 168 kilograms of fake cocaine," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas. "The jury also heard the drug trafficking organization paid Beltran for his participation in each seizure of fake drugs."

The Edinburg Police Department suspended Beltran without pay in 2016, when a grand jury indicted him on drug trafficking charges.

The indictment linked Beltran to Dimas De Leon, a Hidalgo County businessman who supervised a sprawling network of drug traffickers.

De Leon and his associates recruited corrupt cops in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley to stage fake drug busts, which allowed the drug trafficking organization to steal drugs from its suppliers. The fake drug busts covered up the thefts.

Federal agents linked at least six law enforcement officers to members of the De Leon drug trafficking organization, including two Border Patrol agents and a Houston police officer.

Beltran pleaded not guilty.

The case went to trial in July but attracted little media attention — because it was held in Houston.

"Beltran testified at trial and denied participating in the scheme," according to the news release. "The jury did not believe his claims and ultimately found him guilty."

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