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Former police officer convicted of assisting drug cartel

A federal jury in Texas deliberated for four hours before finding a former chief of the La Joya City Police Department guilty on two counts of providing aid and assistance to the Mexican Gulf Cartel's drug distribution activities. The verdicts came at the end of a four-day trial in Hidalgo County. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security became aware of the man's activities when he was employed as a sergeant by the Progreso Police Department.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, an informant told DHS agents that the man had boasted about working for the cartel and claimed to know senior cartel figures personally. He is said to have told the informant that he became involved with the cartel to raise money for an upcoming election campaign. Prosecutors allege that the man provided cartel leaders with information about police operations and the addresses of drug dealers. He is also said to have taken part in violent home invasions with cartel members to find narcotics.

The man's trial featured testimony from federal agents and confidential informants. One witness with a cartel tattoo on his neck told the jury that the man helped him to carry out drug raids and steal loads of smuggled narcotics. Police are especially concerned about the rise in this type of home invasion as cartel members are sometimes given poor information and show up at the wrong home.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may suggest resolving cases involving serious federal crimes at the negotiating table when the evidence is compelling as the sentences handed down following a guilty verdict are generally harsh. However, trials also introduce an element of risk for prosecutors, which is why they will often make generous plea offers in return for a swift resolution.

Source: Breitbart, "Former Texas Border Police Chief Convicted for Aiding Gulf Cartel", Ildefonso Ortiz and Brandon Darby, March 8, 2019

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