Nine expected to plead guilty in Panama Unit scandal

Federal court records reveal that the son of Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino and eight other suspects in the Panama Unit scandal are expected to plead guilty.

An order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane shows that Jonathan Trevino and the others are expected for re-arraignment on Wednesday, May 29th.

Among those named in the order are five former law enforcement officers:

Fabian RodriguezGerardo Mendoza-DuranSalvador Joel ArguelloClaudio Alberto MataEric Michael Alcantar

Three accused drug traffickers from the case are also named in Judge Crane's order:

Fernando Guerra, Sr.Fernando Guerra, Jr.Alvaro Gilberto DeHoyos

Trevino and the eight others all pleaded "not guilty" at previous court hearings.

Neither federal prosecutors nor defense attorneys are commenting but Action 4 News spoke to an expert on the federal court system.

Harlingen-based attorney John Blaylock has won several federal court cases and overseen many others.

Blaylock told Action 4 News that a re-arraignment hearing is where a defendant changes their plea from "not guilty" to "guilty."

The Harlingen defense attorney said many clients choose to do it to get a lesser sentence.

As of Thursday evening, there have been no updates filed for the three remaining suspects in the case: Alexis Espinoza, James Phil Flores and Jorge Garza.

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