- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A criminal complaint unsealed this week accuses a South Texas police officer of stealing cocaine from a home in 2012 and then trying to cover up the theft by claiming he found the drugs in a car that he seized.

Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, The Monitor newspaper in McAllen (https://bit.ly/1MFQBEA ) reported. Mendez is a 17-year veteran of the Mission Police Department who was assigned to a drug enforcement task force.

Mendez’s defense attorney, Carlos Garcia, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he has reviewed the criminal complaint and that his client denies the allegations.

Mendez is accused of stealing the drugs in July 2012 - several months after he lost a primary for Hidalgo County Precinct 2 constable.

He was questioned several times, including earlier this month, after investigators said he made several inconsistent statements. The complaint unsealed Monday states that Mendez has denied knowing of any drug theft.

Two former Mission police officers, Alexis Espinoza and Jonathan Trevino, were sentenced last year to lengthy terms for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that involved other law enforcement officers in the region.

Mendez could receive up to life in prison and a $10 million fine if convicted on the possession with intent to distribute charge.

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Information from: The Monitor, https://www.themonitor.com


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