Former Hidalgo County sheriff’s commander Padilla pleads guilty
MCALLEN, TX — Jose A. Padilla, 54, of Weslaco, has entered a plea of guilty for one count of receipt of a bribe, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Padilla was a former deputy commander at the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and served under the leadership of former sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino.
Padilla has admitted that during 2011 and 2012, he received cash from alleged drug trafficker Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez. In exchange for the cash payments, Padilla performed various tasks for Gonzalez and provided information to Gonzalez related to ongoing law enforcement activities.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane accepted Padilla’s plea today and has set sentencing for July 17, 2104. At that time, he faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a potential maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount he received.
He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz prosecuted the case.