A former police chief in Texas has been arrested for allegedly working hand-in-hand with Mexican drug cartels, protecting the very criminals he swore he’d pursue.
Geovani Hernandez, 43, had a long history in law enforcement before was arrested in August in a year-long federal investigation called “Operation Blue Shame.” He’s worked in six Texas police departments since 1996, mounted two unsuccessful campaigns for Hidalgo County sheriff, and served as a police chief in 2014. He was a sergeant in Progreso, Texas, up until the day he was arrested.
According to the Washington Post, the investigation kicked off in 2016 after an informant offered a tip to federal authorities claiming he had dirt on a police-involved smuggling operation and dropped Hernandez’s name. In May of this year, authorities sent a second informant to meet with Hernandez, who allegedly boasted he was a “close friend” of a major Gulf Cartel boss, and could move through its turf in Mexico “without any problem.” Hernandez mentioned that he could use some extra cash for his run to become Constable of Hidalgo County, Texas—this after two failed bids for sheriff, campaigning on a promise to clean up an area that was “infested with drug cartel members.”
Over the next several months, Hernandez accepted thousands from the informant in exchange for double-dealing police work, according to court documents. He allegedly took a grand from the informant to run a series of license plates belonging to vehicles being sent to the US from Mexico. When the informant asked Hernandez to run a name through a police database to see if that individual was a police informant, Hernandez allegedly obliged for $2,000.
In July, the informant allegedly approached Hernandez with a heftier deal: If the sergeant would help him deliver a carload of “items” for $10,000, Hernandez could take half of the fee. According to court documents, Hernandez went for it, instructing the informant “not to tell him what the vehicle would be transporting, not to discuss any details on their current cellphones, and to buy new cellphones.” Federal agents orchestrated a sting later that month, loading nine kilograms of white powder bricks and one of bona-fide cocaine into a car, sending it through Progreso, and monitoring Hernandez while he allegedly worked with the informant to get it through town safely.
After he’d allegedly taken $5,000 for the job, police arrested Hernandez on August 12, according to the Department of Justice. He’s been charged with aiding and abetting, attempt to posses with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and possession with attempt to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, with bail set at $100,000, the Post reports. He was fired from the Progreso Police Department at the end of August.