Jury Convicts Former Officer In Drug Scheme
McAllen, TX
   
 
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McALLEN, Texas - A 45-year-old former sergeant with the Progresso Police Department has been convicted of two counts of aiding and abetting the attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for three hours before convicting Giovanni Hernandez, of Weslaco, following a four-day trial.

 

Hernandez had been a sergeant with the Progreso Police Department. The jury heard that from March through August 2017, a confidential source met with Hernandez 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.

 

Hernandez had been previously released on bond but was remanded to custody after the verdict where he will remain pending his sentencing hearing, set for May 22, 2019. At that time, he faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison as well as a possible $10 million maximum fine.

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS - Criminal Investigations conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation which was dubbed Operation Blue Shame. Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) James H. Sturgis and Kristen J. Rees are prosecuting this case. AUSA Anibal Alaniz is prosecuting the related drug trafficking case.

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