This article appeared in the Jan. 28 issue of the Progress Times.
The city of Hidalgo fired a maintenance worker Tuesday after the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office caught him with more than 42 kilograms of cocaine.
City Manager Julian Gonzalez said he terminated Jose Alfonso Treviño Jr., 44, of Hidalgo on Tuesday.
“This is a serious offense, in that it’s not just a traffic stop in which a significant amount of narcotics were discovered,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Alfred Fry, who discussed the case during a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon. “But this individual attempted to tamper with, destroy, obstruct — whichever verb you want to use — even more evidence in this case.”
The city hired Treviño in June 2012, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act. Treviño worked for the Water Department, which paid him about $10.35 per hour.
A deputy pulled Treviño over Tuesday on the 4700 block of South Jackson Road.
“During the course of the traffic stop, the driver, identified as Jose Alfonso TREVINO, Jr. (TREVINO) admitted to being in possession of a personal use amount of cocaine,” according to the criminal complaint against him. “A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two grocery bags on the rear floorboards that contained ten (10) bundles of a white powdery substance, which field tested positive for the properties of cocaine.”
The bundles weighed nearly 11 kilograms.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, questioned Treviño about the cocaine.
“Prior to the interview commencing, TREVINO asked if he could call his wife,” according to the criminal complaint. “During the call to his wife, TREVINO asked her to tell their son to clean out the garage in order for something to be parked in there.”
Other law enforcement officers had already started watching Treviño’s house.
Treviño’s wife, Rita Eva Moreno-Tinoco, arrived in a white Chevrolet Traverse. She grabbed two plastic storage bins from the garage and placed them in the car.
Officers pulled her over, searched the Chevrolet and found about 31 kilograms of cocaine in the storage bins.
Agents charged Treviño and Moreno-Tinoco with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.
Treviño appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker for a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Fry, the federal prosecutor, asked Hacker to hold Treviño without bond.
“The government finds this extremely alarming,” Fry said. “In that, from the very beginning of this case, from the first interaction with police, we already have an attempt to kind of impede or interfere or affect the investigation.”
Federal Public Defender Abel Guerrero, who represents Treviño, requested bond.
“Mr. Treviño suffers from cirrhosis and his liver has been, obviously, in bad shape for quite some time,” Guerrero said.
Treviño also suffers from “long COVID” symptoms, Guerrero said, and takes medication.
“So there’s about 14 medications that my client takes,” Guerrero said. “And his health is really a concern.”
Fry said that Treviño also made threats against law enforcement officers after his arrest.
“He seemingly was very upset about the arrest, potentially the money that was seized from him,” Fry said. “To the point that the guard indicated something to the extent that he knows who they are and when he gets out he’s going to ‘f them up.’”
Hacker said he would review the facts and make a decision at a later date.