Former Hidalgo County sheriff commander may be headed back to prison

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Former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Commander Jose Padilla may be headed back to prison after violating the conditions of his supervised release, the Progress Times reported.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ruled Wednesday that Padilla, 59, stole money and associated with a felon after serving a 38-month prison sentence for bribery.

“I do intend to punish you for this crime,” Crane said, according to the Times. The judge said he would delay sentencing on the supervised release violations until Dec. 6 because charges are pending against Padilla for theft and forgery in state court. 

Personnel records show that Padilla joined the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office in 1989 and was promoted to commander in 2006 by then-Sheriff Guadalupe Trevino, the newspaper reported. 

Padilla confessed to accepting cash totaling nearly $100,000 from local drug trafficker Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez, according to the Texas Rangers. Padilla kept some and delivered the rest to Trevino, who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Padilla pleaded guilty to bribery in April 2014.

Pharr Municipal Court records show that Padilla began working for Unimex Logistics in 2018 after serving his prison sentence, where he developed a relationship with Milagros M. Gomez, 36, the manager of the Pharr-based company’s money.

The two are alleged to have charged thousands in personal expenses to a company credit card, according to those court records.

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