Sheriff Lupe Trevio fires back at testimony in Panama Unit trial

James Phil Flores File Photo

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio is firing back following federal court testimony that deputies campaigned for him on county time.

Former deputy Jorge Garza is on trial at McAllen's federal courthouse for his role in the Panama Unit corruption scandal.

Federal prosecutors allege that Garza and other law enforcement officers worked for drug traffickers to steal loads from rivals, sell them and split the profits.

Testimony from the trial is being reported by the McAllen Monitor on the social media network Twitter.

Serious Allegations

James Phil Flores, another former deputy who pleaded guilty in the case, continued his testimony on Thursday morning.

Flores testified that he and other deputies were forced to buy fundraiser tickets for Trevio's re-election campaign.

The former deputy also testified that he even turned to drug traffickers to pay for fundraising meals.

Flores testified that one deputy had to take a loan to buy one of the expensive fundraising ticket books.

Sheriff Responds

During a press conference for a murder case, Sheriff Trevio fired back against the allegations being raised in federal court.

Sheriff Trevio told Action 4 News that he denies any wrongdoing and that anyone who worked on his campaign did it strictly on a voluntary basis.

The sheriff, whose son Jonathan Trevio pleaded guilty to his role in the Panama Unit scandal, said forced campaigning on county time was not allowed.

Sheriff Trevio added that he once fired an employee who campaigned on county time.

If you are going to work on my campaign as a personal employee you are going to do it on your own personal time," the sheriff said.

The sheriff also strongly denied allegations that he forced deputies to sell and buy tickets.

It TMs absolutely absurd," Sheriff Trevio said. I don TMt belive JP Flores would ever say Sheriff Trevino required him (to sell tickets).

Sheriff Trevio said he only makes appearances but does not deal with the money when it comes to campaign fundraising.

It TMs common knowledge that I do not participate in fundraising activities," the sheriff said.