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      Former sheriff's commander pleads guilty to taking bribe

      Joe Padilla // File Photo

      A former commander with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office has pleaded guilty to taking cash bribes from a Weslaco drug trafficker.

      Jose "Joe" Padilla appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane in McAllen at 11 a.m. Thursday morning.

      The former commander pleaded guilty to accepting cash bribes from Weslaco trafficker Tomas "El Gallo" Gonzalez.

      Federal prosecutors said Padilla provided law enforcement information and favors for Gonzalez.

      Padilla and Gonzalez are among 12 people named in a federal drug trafficking case.

      In the waiver of indictment filed in federal court, Padilla is accused of corruptly accepting about $90,000 from drug tafficker "El Gallo".

      Sentencing for Padilla is scheduled for July 17th where he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 dollar fine.

      Gonzalez and 10 other people in the case are also expected to plead guilty on April 23rd.

      In a related case, former Sheriff Lupe Trevio admitted to laundering the illegal campaign contribution from Gonzalez.

      Trevio's former chief of staff Pat Medina also pleaded guilty to known about the illegal campaign contribution but failing to report it.