McALLEN, Texas (CN) – Federal agents arrested a South Texas police sergeant on charges he helped transport cocaine because he needed money for his constable election campaign, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
Geovani Hernandez, 43, was arrested on Saturday and the Progreso Police Department fired him on Monday, local media reported. Progreso is on the Mexico border, about 40 miles west of Brownsville.
Hernandez is the former police chief of La Joya, Texas. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos on Monday and she told him he had been charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and aiding and abetting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
He has a detention hearing on Friday to determine if he is eligible for bond.
If convicted, he faces at least 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $10 million.
According to the indictment, federal agents began investigating Hernandez in August 2016 after a confidential informant told them Hernandez was working for a drug trafficking group.
Prosecutors say he met with another informant on May 30 to discuss drug running.
“During the meeting, Hernandez told CI #2 that he was a close friend of Juan Manuel Loza-Salinas aka ‘El Toro’ (Loza-Salinas was a Gulf Cartel Plaza boss in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico) and that he needed money for his campaign for Hidalgo County Constable,” the indictment states. (Parentheses in original.)
One of the two informants who helped federal agents bust Hernandez reportedly paid Hernandez $3,000 in June for running records checks through police databases on a license plate and on a man’s name to see if the man was an informant, according to the indictment.
The same informant reportedly paid Hernandez $5,000 for helping her and a “cooperating defendant” transport what federal agents led Hernandez to believe was 10 kilograms of cocaine from a warehouse in Progreso, Texas to Pharr, Texas on July 15.
It’s a classic case of life imitating art for Hernandez.
He had a cameo in a narcocorrido music video about shipping cocaine from South Texas to Houston in which he portrayed a police officer, according to the McAllen Monitor.