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U.S. Border Agent, Houston cop among 15 named in drug trafficking indictment

May 22, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
U.S. Border Agent, Houston cop among 15 named in drug trafficking indictment

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Several members of law enforcement, including a U.S. Border Protection (CBP) officer, are among 15 defendants charged in a drug trafficking indictment filed in the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston, earlier this week KRGV reported.

According to the indictment, the charges are part of a five-year wide-ranging investigation into a drug ring which enlisted the help of corrupt members of law enforcement in an elaborate scheme to steal cocaine in Texas border cities, the Texas Tribune reported.

Prosecutors unsealed a grand jury indictment against all four men along with over a dozen people Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

The suspects face additional charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, according to mySA.com.

One of the defendants is Border Patrol agent Daniel Polanco, who has worked at the Falfurrias station for nine years, along with Hector Beltran a 14-year veteran of the Edinburg Police Department.

Both men surrendered to authorities this week. Additionally, former Houston Police Officer Marcos Esteban Carrion, 38, is already in custody on charges from a separate case, and was also indicted, along with former Houston Deputy Constable Juan Ignacio Leal, 36, who is expected to appear in federal court on May 31.

The U.S. attorney’s office have also charged: Martin Peña, 59, Carlos Aaron Oyervides, 41, and Noe Arnoldo Moczygemba, 42 all three men from Houston. Dimas DeLeon-Rios, 41, of Edinburg; Carmen Meyer, 60, Angel Alberto Lopez-Rodriguez, 42; and Maritssa Salinas, 38, all three of Mission; Jesus Alejandro Martinez-Lopez, 37, and Francisco Arizmendiz-Lugo, 51 both of Reynosa. Mario Alejandro Solis, 37, of San Juan and Ruben Angel Nava-Perez, 29, from Katy, Texas.

Authorities said that the drug ring and corrupt law enforcement officials would set up fake seizures with the intent of stealing cocaine.

Drug traffickers seeking to smuggle cocaine and meth into cities in north Texas would contact the ring. The suspects would dilute the cocaine and set up staged seizures, keeping the majority of the narcotics.

Once they sold the real cocaine, the leaders of the drug ring then divided the profits with the police officers, while the traffickers were led to believe law enforcement had seized the dope, according to the reports.

Court documents indicate that over the past five years, the illicit operation moved more than 200 kilos of cocaine.

The indictment charges Beltran with one count of conspiracy and two additional counts of possession linked to incidents that occurred back in 2011. Polanco faces one count each of conspiracy and possession relating to an 2013 incident.

The Border Patrol chief deputy and the Edinburg police chief issued statements on the charges Friday. Neither of them allowed for questions.

“We do not tolerate abuse or corruption within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with criminal investigations of alleged misconduct on or off duty,” said Raul Ortiz, Border Patrol chief deputy for the RGV sector. “Every agent understands that they hold a position of public trust, and I want to emphasize that this incident does not reflect our organization’s values or principals.”

“The Edinburg Police Department will continue its efforts to make sure you’re safe,” said David White, Edinburg police chief. “We not only police our community vigorously, but we will also vigorously police ourselves.”

The case is similar to the infamous Panama Unit corruption scandal, which was a multiagency narcotics squad based in the Rio Grande Valley and consisting of officers from the Mission Police Department and Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutors say members of the narcotics unit began stealing drugs and cash from traffickers and sold the loads themselves.

Federal agents implicated former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino and his son Jonathan in the sweeping investigation that involved accepting money from a Mexican drug cartel. Both are currently serving federal prison sentences.

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