MCALLEN, Texas – A federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment Wednesday against three additional south Texas deputies and three other men on drug charges, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.
This case is being investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Rangers, and the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General.
According to court documents, in January, a federal grand jury charged four individuals – Jonathan Christian Trevino, 28, Alexis Rigoberto Espinoza, 29, Fabian Rodriguez, 28, and Gerardo Mendoza-Duran, 30 – with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. These charges stemmed from a case involving the former task force dubbed the "Panama Unit."
The superseding indictment further charged three former Hidalgo County Sheriff's deputies – Salvador Joel Arguello, 34, Claudio Alberto Mata, 34, and Eric Michael Alcantar, 29. They were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana, and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. The trio was also charged in several substantive counts with possession with the intent to distribute multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine.
The superseding indictment also includes one count of theft of government property against Trevino, Rodriguez and Arguello.
Three other men – Fernando Guerra Sr., 57, Fernando Guerra Jr., 24, and Alvaro Gilberto DeHoyos, 25 – were also charged in the March 6 superseding indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, more than five kilograms of cocaine.
All the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, along with a potential fine up to $10 million.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anibal Alanis and James Sturgis, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.