Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio resigns amid ongoing scandal

Sheriff Lupe Treviño after testifying at the trial of his former deputy Jorge Garza

Hidalgo County's top lawman is stepping down from his post.

Sheriff Lupe Trevio made the announcement in a press release sent out to the media at 10:52 a.m. Friday.

In a letter addressed to Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, Trevio said he was retiring as of today.

Trevio cited both internal and external pressures placed upon him since December 12, 2012.

According to KGBT-TV archives, the date is when federal officials arrested Sheriff Trevio's son Jonathan Trevio in the Panama Unit corruption scandal.

Since that time, a total of nine law enforcment officers and three drug traffickers have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scandal.

Sheriff's Comments

Sheriff Trevio said in a statement that he will not be providing interviews regarding his decision to retire from office.

But his letter offers many insights into his decision.

Trevio wrote that the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office is the eighth largest in the State of Texas and that he has not been able to give it the attention it deserves.

"In solace, I can proudly say that I will be leaving the HCSO in better shape as compared to when I took command in January 2005," Trevio wrote in his letter.

Trevio cited many accomplishments including reducing the violent crime rate, establishing a substation in eastern Hidalgo County and improving the agency's communications systems.

"I thank the people of Hidalgo County for allowing me to serve them, and the employees of the HCSO for allowing me to lead them," Trevio wrote in his letter. "Thank you and God bless you."

Appointing An Interim

Trevio's resignation leave a leadership vacuum at the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.

Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia and other county leaders are holding a press conference at 2 p.m. Friday.

Judge Garcia told Action 4 News that county leaders will be discussing the sheriff's resignation.

The Hidalgo County Commissioners Court is expected to meet on Wednesday and appoint an interim sheriff.

Among the names being discussed are former Hidalgo County Sheriff Henry Escalon, Pct. 3 Constable Lazaro Gallardo and Pct. 4 Eddie Guerra.

Panama Unit 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.

Road To Resignation

November 2004Lupe Trevio first elected as Hidalgo County Sheriff

November 2008Lupe Trevio re-elected at Hidalgo County Sheriff

November 2012Lupe Trevio wins third term as Hidalgo County Sheriff

December 2012Jonathan Trevio and Alexis Espinoza arrested

January 2013Four indicted in Panama Unit scandal

March 2013Six more people charged in Panama Unit scandal

March 2013Deputy JP Flores charged in Panama Unit scandal

April 2013Deputy Jorge Garza charged in Panama Unit scandal

May 2013Jonathan Trevio and four others plead guilty in Panama Unit scandal

June 2013Two more plead guilty in Panama Unit scandal

July 2013Four more plead guilty in Panama Unit scandal

August 2013Deputy Jorge Garza found guilty in jury trial

August 2013Tomas "El Gallo" Gonzalez and several others indicted in separate drug trafficking case

September 2013Panama Unit sentencing postponed until October

October 2013Panama Unit sentencing postponed until December

December 2013Panama Unit sentencing postponed until February

December 2013Commander Joe Padilla arrested in connection to "El Gallo" drug trafficking case

February 2014Sentencing postponed until April for 11 of the Panama Unit suspects

February 2014Drug trafficker Alvaro Gilberto DeHoyos get 7.5 years in prison for role in Panama Unit scandal March 2014Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Patricia Medina resigns.