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“El Gallo” and Others Sentenced

NOV 13 (McALLEN, Texas) - A total of nine people have been ordered to federal prison for their roles in relation to a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced the leader of that organization, Tomas Reyes Gonzalez aka “El Gallo,” 37, to a total of 120 months in federal prison. Reyes Gonzalez was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute narcotics along with Eloy Gonzalez, 40, Hector Rodriguez Sr., 61, Federico Rodriguez, 27, Jamail Thomas, 34, and William Champion Gonzalez, 22, all of Weslaco. Reyes Gonzalez also pleaded to one count of conspiring to launder money. Gonzalez, Rodriguez Sr., Rodriguez, Thomas, and Champion Gonzalez will serve respective sentences of 120, 57, 57, 70, and 40 months.

Also sentenced today was Jose A. Padilla, 54, of Weslaco, a former deputy commander with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office who served under the leadership of former sheriff Guadalupe Trevino, aka Lupe Trevino. Padilla pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe and received a sentence of 38 months in prison.

The 12th and final defendant charged in this case, Omar Fidencio Rojas, 33, of Weslaco, was convicted after a four-day jury trial in July 2014 of three counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and seven counts of money laundering. He was sentenced to 180 months for narcotics trafficking and 120 months for money laundering to run concurrently. He was also required to pay a $300,000 fine. 

The investigation revealed that from 2007 to 2013, Reyes Gonzalez headed a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. The narcotics were transported from the Rio Grande Valley to Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Reyes Gonzalez used the resulting drug proceeds to purchase properties.

At the time of his guilty plea, Padilla admitted he received cash from Reyes Gonzalez in exchange for providing information to him related to ongoing law enforcement activities.

In a separate case, Trevino, 65, of McAllen, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted he received cash contributions for his election campaign through Padilla from Reyes Gonzalez, acknowledging he accepted the money knowing it was from illegal activities. He admitted he accepted the monies directly and through others as donations to assist with his 2012 election campaign. Some of the monies received were subsequently deposited into bank accounts Trevino controlled and were comingled with other funds. During and after the transactions, Trevino and others acted to disguise and conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the currency by filing false Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Reports and producing other documents.

Trevino was sentenced July 17, 2014, to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez.

Trevino’s former chief of staff and campaign treasurer, Maria Patricia Medina, 40, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony in yet another case, admitting she assisted Trevino in the concealment of the donations by falsifying election records. She was sentenced in late July to 11 months by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa.

The overall investigation 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.

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