Former Sheriff Trevio pleads guilty to money laundering

Months of rumors and speculation have ended with former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio pleading guilty to money laundering.

Former Sheriff Lupe Trevio appeared before District Judge Micaela Alvarez in McAllen's federal courthouse 8 a.m. Monday.

Trevio pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The government is recommending his sentence be reduced and his fine to an estimated $120,000 since he admitted to the charges.

A statement said that an investigation between 2011 and 2012 revealed that the former sheriff received cash contributions from a known drug trafficker, Tomas El Gallo Gonzalez.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Trevio admitted he accepted the money to help his 2012 election campaign when he knew it came from illegal activities.

The former sheriff resigned from his post last month citing both internal and external pressures placed upon him from the Panama Unit scandal.

Trevio's son Jonathan Trevio is among nine law enforcement officers who have been convicted in the scandal.

Originally swept into office back in November 2004, voters gave Trevio a third term in office in November 2012.

But Trevio faced his first rounds of criticism following the arrest of his son in the Panama Unit scandal back in December 2012.

The sheriff's son, two trusted deputies and six other law enforcement officials pleaded guilty to team up with three drug traffickers to steal loads from rivals, sell them and split the profits.

Another blow came when U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested Sheriff Trevio's second-in-command Commander Jose "Joe" Padilla on Christmas Eve in a separate drug trafficking case.

Padilla's case remains pending but Sheriff Trevio's son and 10 other suspects in the Panama Unit scandal are expected to be sentenced on April 29th.

One drug trafficker named in the case has already been sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison.

Trevio's former chief of staff and re-election campaign director Pat Medina also resigned from her post last month.

Medina plead guilty on Friday to overseeing the sheriff launder campaign contributions from drug trafficking suspect Tomas "El Gallo" Gonzalez and failing to report it.

Trevio must surrender his passport, cannot leave Texas, and cannot carry weapons.

Trevio's bond is $30,000 unsecured and his sentencing set for July 17th at 9 a.m.