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Former Police Sergeant Sentenced to Federal Prison
McAllen, Texas
   
 
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McALLEN, Texas - A former sergeant with the Progreso Police Department (PPD) has been ordered to serve 20 years in federal prison for drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) along with Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and Acting Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui of IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI).

 

“This sentence serves as a sobering reminder about the serious consequences for those who violate the public’s trust,” said Folden. “HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to target and investigate those who exploit their positions for financial gain.”

 

A jury convicted Geovani Hernandez, 45, of Weslaco, March 7, 2019, on two counts of attempting to aid and abet the trafficking of five kilograms of cocaine following a four-day trial and approximately three hours of deliberation.   

 

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Hernandez to serve 240 months in prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court noted the evidence against Hernandez was overwhelming. In imposing the sentence, the court ruled Hernandez abused his position of trust to facilitate the drug trafficking offense and obstructed justice when he attempted to intimidate both the case agent and confidential informant to prevent them from testifying at trial.

 

Hernandez had been employed as a PPD sergeant from March through August 2017, when a confidential source met with him seeking assistance for a drug trafficking organization. The meetings culminated in Hernandez agreeing to scout for law enforcement to enable a vehicle he believed contained a controlled substance to pass through the Progreso area undetected.

 

At trial, the jury heard recordings between the informant and Hernandez discussing scouting for the drug load. The government presented evidence that once the drug load made it successfully through Progreso on July 15, 2017, Hernandez gave the informant his Progreso police badge.

 

The defense attempted to attack the credibility of the witnesses and denied any of Hernandez’s knowledge of the drug trafficking scheme or his attempt to participate in it. The jury was not convinced and convicted him on all counts as charged.

 

“The public’s trust of our law enforcement officials is very fragile; thus, DEA will always vigorously pursue allegations of drug trafficking within the ranks of the law enforcement community,” said Glaspy. “The sentence handed down today is a reminder to those who may consider betraying their badge and the public’s confidence that you will be held accountable for your actions.”

 

“Today’s sentencing of this former police officer should serve as a warning that anyone involved in the drug trafficker trade, especially those within a public trust position, will be held accountable for their actions,” added Tsui.

 

Hernandez has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

 

HSI and Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) led the investigation into Hernandez. The case arose as a result of the larger Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Operation Blue Shame which HSI, DHS-OIG, DEA and IRS – CI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) James H. Sturgis and Kristen J. Rees prosecuted this case. AUSAs Anibal Alaniz and Casey Macdonald are prosecuting the related drug trafficking case.

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