Murder, posing as sheriff among allegations raised in Pat Medina sentencing
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:44:13 GMT —
The sentencing of former Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Pat Medina is raising new allegations and questions.
Medina was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison for knowing and not reporting that ex-Sheriff Lupe Trevio was laundering drug money in his re-election campaign.
But courtroom testimony at sentencing reveal questions about a possible cover-up into the murder of a witness.
It also revealed that a former deputy posed as ex-Sheriff Lupe Trevio on the phone to a drug trafficker at least 20 times.
During Medina's sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Hinojosa asked a bombshell question that surprised the audience.
"The only person who witnessed the sheriff meeting Tomas Gonzalez was murdered," Judge Hinojosa said. "Who's looking into that?"
Gonzalez is the Weslaco-based drug trafficker nicknamed "El Gallo," who gave former Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Joe Padilla at least $250,000 in cash.
Sheriff Trevio resigned from his post back in March and was sentenced to five years in federal prison for laundering the money Gonzalez gave him.
Sources close to the case told Action 4 News that the slain witness is believed to be narcocorrido singer Chuy Quintanilla.
Quintanilla was murdered back in April 2013 with no arrest made.
Authorities arrested Gonzalez in August 2013. Both Gonzalez and Padilla are expected to be sentenced on September 18th.
Posing As Sheriff
Testimony from Commander Padilla at Medina's sentencing also revealed another set of allegations.
Padilla testified that Gonzalez and his father Horacio Gonzalez routinely gave him money but often asked for favors and to talk to the sheriff.
Gonzalez gave Padilla an untraceable Boost mobile phone so he would not have to use his work cell phone to contact him.
Padilla said Trevio would talk to Gonzalez and his father at first but the former commander said he later had Deputy Orlando Cantu pose as the sheriff on the phone.
Cantu worked under Padilla's command as a deputy at the Hidalgo County Courthouse.
Testimony revealed that Cantu volunteered on Trevio's re-election campaign where he gathered donations from lawyers and others at the courthouse.
Cantu is not facing criminal charges but Padilla said he posed as the sheriff at least 20 times on the phone.
"I would call Orlando Cantu and tell him to pretend to the sheriff and he would do it," Padilla testified.