Former La Joya Police Chief Faces Life in Prison
UPDATE(7/15): Sentencing for former La Joya police chief Geovani Hernandez is set for Tuesday.
UPDATE (8/18): A former La Joya police chief facing drug charges was granted bond.
A judge set Geovani Hernandez's bond at $100,000 despite prosecutors saying he is a flight risk.
Count on us to bring you the latest details in the case.
MCALLEN – A former Rio Grande Valley police chief made his first appearance in court Monday morning.
Former La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez was arrested on aiding and abetting, possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and attempt to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Investigator Jacob Garcia announced Monday Hernandez, a probationary police sergeant with Progreso police, is no longer with the department. It's unknown if he quit or resigned.
Hernandez had spoke with CHANNEL 5 NEWS when he was on the other side of the law. He detailed what it was like combating drug smuggling activity in his area.
In a turn of events Monday, he stood before a judge, facing drug charges.
We were there as Hernandez became La Joya police chief. He promised to fight crime. Specifically, drug activity.
"We gotta make sure that we build a safer community. We battle drug trafficking, and avoid, actually, prevent from those drugs ending up in our school districts and our neighbors backyard," said Hernandez when he first took over the position.
He went from chasing criminals to aiding them.
A month's long investigation captured in three pages. Federal documents detail Hernandez's activity. (Document attached)
May 30, Hernandez met with a confidential informant to plot out their plan. He disclosed being close friends with Juan Manuel Loza-Salinas, known as "El Toro," boss of the Gulf Cartel Plaza in Reynosa.
The former police chief said he needed money for his campaign for Hidalgo County Constable.
The informant said they transported vehicles with drugs northbound and needed help running record checks on the cars.
A job Hernandez said would cost $1,000 or more. To top it off, he told the informant cartel leaders knew him and he traveled to Reynosa and back with no problem. An act he previously decried.
"Sometimes they themselves voice it out to us. 'Hey, I belong to MS-13, I'm working for the cartel, I'm operating for the cartels in your area,' they say it. It's not a secret anymore. They voice it out to us. And that's a big concern," said Hernandez.
June 2017 pinpoints transactions between Hernandez and the informant for license plate records.
On July 11, the informant said they would drive a vehicle from a warehouse in Progreso to load it with "items," then drive to Pharr. A $10,000 job, if successfully completed. Hernandez would get a cut of that money if he helped.
He agreed, telling the informant not to disclose what was in the vehicle.
The final transaction happened a month ago, on July 15.
Homeland Security investigations special agents loaded ten bricks of white powdery substance weighing nearly 10 kilos into a vehicle. Only one of those bricks contained cocaine hydrochloride.
Hernandez helped get the loaded vehicle through Progreso and was paid $5,000 for his role in the transaction.
He faces 10 years to life in jail if convicted for his charges. Additionally, he could be forced to pay a fine not exceeding $10 million.
Hernandez is due back in court Friday, Aug. 18 and is currently in custody of the U.S. Marshals.