Texas readers expect police officers to uphold the laws they are charged with enforcing. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. On July 18, a former South Texas police chief was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of multiple drug charges.
According to local media reports, the defendant, a 45-year-old resident of McAllen, was working as a police sergeant at the Progreso Police Department when federal agents took him into custody on drug charges in 2017. Apparently, he accepted a cash bribe to provide security for a drug cartel member who was transporting a shipment of cocaine. However, the person who paid him to protect the cartel member was actually a federal informant.
The defendant, who briefly served as the police chief of the La Joya City Police Department, was arrested and eventually convicted of multiple federal crimes, including possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and attempting to aid and abet a criminal. The federal judge who sentenced him pointed out that he could have had seven years removed from his sentence if he had accepted a plea bargain.
People who are facing drug charges can choose to fight the allegations or plead guilty as part of a plea deal. In some cases, insufficient evidence or other factors, such as the violation of a defendant's rights, might make fighting the charges a good bet. However, in other circumstances, a criminal defense attorney might recommend that the defendant accept a plea deal that reduces the charges in exchange for pleading guilty and avoiding a time-consuming trial. This type of deal often leads to a reduction in penalties.