Former Police Chief Offered $100K Bond in Drug Trafficking Case
MCALLEN – Former La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez could soon be released from federal custody. He’s accused of accepting cash to help facilitate the movement of drug loads.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos granted him a $100,000 bond, despite prosecutors’ concerns he could be a flight risk.
Hernandez was working as a sergeant for the Progreso Police Department at the time of his arrest.
During a court hearing Friday, several new details emerged about the case.
A Homeland Security Investigations special agent testified. He said interactions between Hernandez and a confidential informant are recorded.
During the recording of the first meeting with Hernandez, investigators had trouble hearing the conversation because Hernandez was playing narco corridos loudly in the background.
Hernandez bragged about being close friends with now deceased Gulf Cartel Plaza leader Juan Manual Loza-Salinas, also known as “El Toro.” He allegedly said he had a meeting scheduled with “El Toro” before the cartel leader’s death in April.
The first operation the informant set up with investigators started at Hernandez's Weslaco home.
Hernandez had his badge and gun with him when he and the informant provided security for another vehicle Hernandez believed to be carrying a load of drugs.
When that operation was finished, Hernandez demanded his cash payment immediately. He told the informant he wanted to meet the bosses of the trafficking organization in person.
The HSI agent stated Hernandez gave his Progreso police badge to the informant to show the drug bosses, in an apparent effort to show the bosses he was trustworthy.
The second operation started in the Progreso Police Department parking lot. HSI said Hernandez drove his marked police unit this time. After the job was finished, Hernandez took cash payment in the police parking lot.
The HSI agent testified that investigators had to be very careful throughout their investigation because Hernandez was suspicious of being under investigation.
The special agent said Hernandez knew law enforcement tactics, and avoided saying certain incriminating words. He even warned the confidential informant to be careful around a certain drug trafficker in Mexico, who Hernandez believed to be under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Investigators served a warrant at Hernandez's home and found devices meant to detect law enforcement recording technology.
If convicted of his charges, Hernandez faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.
As of right now, Hernandez's law enforcement license is suspended.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS pulled his record from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. It turns out Hernandez has worked for departments all over the Rio Grande Valley.
- He started out as a jailer for the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office in 1996. He later became a reserve officer for them as well.
- In 1997, he worked as a police officer in Progreso. In 1998, he moved over to Alamo police, then Pharr in 1999. After 4 years in Pharr, he went back to Progreso.
- In 2008, he started in La Joya as an officer. He worked in Weslaco later that year.
- He took a two-year break from law enforcement before joining La Villa police in 2010.
- He left La Villa after a year and worked as a reserve officer in Elsa before taking the police chief position in La Joya in 2014.
- After he resigned as chief in La Joya, he worked as a reserve officer for Progreso, La Villa and Los Indios.
- His most recent job was as a sergeant at Progreso Police.
To post bond, Hernandez will be required to pay ten percent of the $100,000 up front. He’ll have to give up his passport, agree to GPS monitoring and adhere to a curfew at his home.
Hernandez’s attorney said Hernandez already has a non-law enforcement job waiting for him upon his release.
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