Three south Texas police officers have recently appeared in federal court on drug charges; one of the men is the 29-year-old son of a local county sheriff. Charges are also pending against a fourth suspect employed in law enforcement. It is alleged that the men, who were part of the anti-drug task force known as the "Panama Unit," used their status as police officers to protect shipments of cocaine for monetary gain.
Prosecutors claim that a tip was received in August regarding drug theft within the task force, after which federal investigators set up a sting operation. The following month, a confidential government source told one of the accused officers that he worked for a drug trafficking group that needed the assistance of police officers to escort drug shipments.
In October, one of the accused officers agreed to move 20 kilograms of cocaine from McAllen to Falfurrias for an alleged payment of $4,000. Other accused officers moved four more shipments of cocaine during November that were also part of the sting operation. Thus far, none of the police officers have been charged with stealing drugs, which was what started the investigation.
Drug charges on the federal level may become complex and include lengthy prison terms and large fines. An attorney with experience defending drug trafficking charges may be able to show that improper procedures were used during the search, arrest or interrogation. An attorney may also be able to craft a defense that lessens the severity of the charges so that there are lessened fines or shorter prison time.
Source: Newser, "Texas anti-drug task force members charged with guarding cocaine shipments for money," Christopher Sherman, Dec. 14, 2012