New witness claims "Panama Unit" officers took his cocaine, cash

Jonathan Treviño and Alexis Espinoza // File Photo

The FBI is protecting a new witness that has come forward alleging that members of the now-defunct "Panama Unit" took several pounds of cocaine and $25,000 dollars in cash from him.

FBI agents took 28-year-old Juan Vasquez-Vega into custody last Thursday.

Federal court records show that Vasquez-Vega is being held as a material witness against Jonathan Trevio and three other members of the now-defunct Panama Unit anti-drug task force.

An undercover sting ended with Trevio and the others being accused of abusing their badges to take bribes to escort drug loads in Hidalgo County.

According to an affidavit, members of the Panama Unit arrested Vasquez-Vega at Matt's Cash and Carry off Expressway 83 in Pharr back in July.

Vasquez-Vega had two kilograms of cocaine on him prompting authorities to go and search his apartment off Nolana Avenue in McAllen.

The Panama Unit allegedly found $25,000 dollars in cash at his home.

Vasquez-Vega told FBI agents that the officers kept the cocaine and the cash and then booked him in jail on a lesser charge.

Court records show that Vasquez-Vega is a Mexican national and that authorities are holding him without bond.

Federal prosecutors have filed a motion to take a deposition from Vasquez-Vega before he is deported back to Mexico.

A federal judge overseeing the case has not made a decision but defense attorneys for Trevio and others are opposing that deposition.