Hidalgo County sheriff's top commander arrested

One of the top ranking law enforcement officers in Hidalgo County has been arrested in connection to two felony counts.

Sheriff's Commander Jose "Joe" Padilla with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department was arrested early this morning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

He has been indicted on two counts, including conspiring to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of drugs and a money laundering charge.

Padilla does not qualify for a court appointed attorney, since he owns property worth over $250,000, including a condo.

Padilla faces 10 years to life in prison and up to a $10 million dollar fine for the drug charges.

For the charge of money laundering, he faces up to 20 years behind bars and the possibility of a $500,000 fine.

He is subject to having his property forfeited, due to the charges against him.

Padilla once oversaw the Panama Unit and Crime Stoppers program with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department.

Padilla plead the fifth during the former sheriff deputy Jorge Garza's trial. Garza was among 12 convicted in the Panama Unit corruption scandal.

Sheriff Lupe Trevino responds

The top ranking law enforcement officer in Hidalgo County, responded to the arrest of Cmdr. Padilla.

"I am disappointed to have learned of the allegations against Cmdr. Joe Padilla," Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. "I am concerned of the morale impact this might have on our organization and the possible loss of confidence by our public."

"We are a resilient organization and we will bounce back up like before. [The] allegations will not hurt our delivery of services to the public," Sheriff Trevino added.

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