Hidalgo County sheriff takes the witness stand in Panama Unit trial

Sheriff Lupe Trevino File Photo

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio has taken the witness stand in a federal drug trafficking trial involving one of his former deputies.

The sheriff is testifying in the trial of former deputy Jorge Garza, whose trial moved into Day 4 on Friday.

Garza is accused of working with drug traffickers to steal loads from rivals, sell them and split the profits.

The former deputy is named in an indictment that includes three drug traffickers, members of the defunct Panama Unit task force and other corrupt law enforcement officials.

Defense attorneys called Sheriff Trevio to the witness stand just around 11:15 a.m. Friday.

Other witnesses in the trial have testified about illegal activity during his re-election campaign where deputies campaigned on county time and were forced to buy expensive fundraiser tickets.

The sheriff denies those allegations.

"I have nothing to hide," Sheriff Trevio said in the courtroom. "As an elected official I think it is the right of the people to hear my testimony."

Trevio said there have been many organization changes at the sheriff's office since his son Jonathan Trevio and others were arrested in the Panama Unit scandal.

Among the changes was reassigning Commander Jose "Joe" Padilla, whose name has come up several times in connection with wrongdoing in Garza's trial.

Sheriff Trevio said Padilla is over support services and is no longer over special services, which oversaw the Panama Unit and Crime Stoppers program.

Follow @BrettKGBT on Twitter for LIVE updates from the courtroom.