12th person charged in connection to Panama Unit scandal

Federal Court Records filed against Jorge Garza

Authorities have charged a Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office deputy as the 12th suspect named in connection to the Panama Unit scandal.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents filed criminal charges against deputy Jorge Garza in connection to the on-going investigation.

The 59-year-old deputy is the 12th person named in the case, which has now netted a total of nine law enforcement officials and three drug traffickers.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Garza worked with former deputy James Phil "JP" Flores in the service of predatory drug trafficker Fernando Guerra, Sr.

Guerra, who is one of ten people indicted in connection to the Panama Unit scandal, allegedly used to Garza and Flores to conduct traffic stops on drug trafficking rivals.

The Edinburg-based drug trafficker allegedly stole drugs from others, sold them and split the profits with his corrupt law enforcement officials.

DEA agents allege that Garza also worked as armed guard protecting stash houses for Guerra at night.

The Panama unit is the name of a now-defunct anti-drug task force whose members were arrested in an ongoing corruption investigation.

Among those arrested are Jonathan Trevio, son of Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio and Alexis Espinoza, son of Hidalgo Police Chief Rodolfo "Rudy" Espinoza.