Sheriff Trevino: ~I wish I had a time machine TM
Mon, 05 Aug 2013 23:42:36 GMT —
After five days of testimony, the evidence portion of Jorge Garza TMs trial is now over.
The defendant, Jorge Garza, is accused of aiding drug traffickers and other corrupt authorities in stealing drug loads and splitting the money.
The second day Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino took to the stand, it appeared more like he was the one on trial and not Jorge Garza.
Garza TMs name was not even mentioned in questioning until the afternoon session.
Both the prosecuting attorney James Sturgis and defense attorney Lilly Gutierrez spent all morning and much of the afternoon questioning Trevino.
Trevino recounted his involvement in the federal sting operation that brought down the Panama Unit TMs members on December 12, 2012.
The sheriff said he responded to a radio call asking for backup to a traffic stop involving cocaine with GPS tracking devices because he was in the neighborhood.
"It was a serious situation... I was close by, Trevino said.
When he got there Trevino said he found a women who was acting hysterical, claiming the drugs were being tracked by the Sinaloa cartel and they were tracking her.
Trevino said he gave the authorization to cut the wires in hopes that if the drugs were indeed being tracked by the cartel members, they wouldn TMt know where they would be taken.
However Trevino said he soon began to suspect it was an undercover federal operation.
Maybe I TMve been doing this too long, Trevino said.
Trevino said he contacted the FBI and DEA and had his deputies wrap up the crime scene and report to the HCSO.
Trevino was also questioned about a couple of internal investigations including that of former deputy Claudio Mata, one of the lawmen who pled guilty in the case.
After other deputies reported Mata may have stolen jewelry from a raid on drug traffickers, Trevino brought him in for questioning, which Trevino admitted was a mistake.
"I should have arrested Mata. I made a very big mistake, I never should have questioned him but sent him straight to a command staff, Trevino said.
Trevino said Mata admitted to Trevino that he had stolen he jewelry.
Trevino did not fire him but handed it over to a commander to be investigated further to see if anyone else was involved.
Claiming there was not enough evidence to prosecute Mata, he was suspended for not following protocol.
"You have no idea how I wish I had a time machine." Trevino said to Gutierrez.
Trevino acknowledged to the court the Panama Unit was his idea. The first city street-level drug fighting task force of its kind in the county, Trevino said he hoped to expand the program to other cities in the county.
While it was his idea, Trevino said he was not their supervisor, and that 95 percent of the time they reported to mission PD because they worked in their city limits.
But even then, Trevino says their supervisor, Sgt. Roy Mendez didn TMt know what was happening.
"We can all agree the Panama Unit went rogue and the supervisor was left in the dark," Trevino said.
Former Deputy Speaks
Former deputy Miguel Flores also took the stand recounting how he approached federal authorities to help bring down the Panama Unit.
Flores worked alongside Panama Unit members, posing as a corrupt cop like the rest of its members and then informing the FBI on the plans of the rogue unit.
Like other witnesses heard throughout the trial, Flores said he was forced to sell campaign fundraiser tickets citing if he didn TMt he would be black balled.
Trevino once again denies the illegal political practice citing he doesn TMt do his own fundraising.
Flores is currently in the middle of a whistleblower lawsuit involving Trevino and the HCSO claiming he was demoted from a narcotics investigator to a patrolman after the scandal.
The day ended with a couple of character witnesses, Frank Garcia and Joe Gonzalez, who testified that they believe Jorge Garza is a good, honest man.
The jury will hear closing arguments Tuesday morning before they begin their deliberation to decide if Jorge Garza is innocent or guilty.