- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A former South Texas police investigator must serve seven years in federal prison for faking law enforcement reports about smuggled cocaine.

Ex-Rio Grande City police investigator Noel Pena was sentenced Friday in McAllen.

The 29-year-old Pena and another man, 21-year-old Hector Salinas-Hinojosa of Roma, were convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Salinas-Hinojosa was sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison.

Both men were arrested last April in an undercover case linked to Pena’s work with the Starr County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

Prosecutors say Pena was bribed by drug traffickers who would steal cocaine being stashed for Mexican cartels. Authorities say Pena generated fake police reports making it look like the cocaine had been seized during law enforcement operations.



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