An officer from the Mission Police Department in South Texas, who was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration task force, was arrested on federal charges that he stole more than five kilos of cocaine from a home during a drug raid before staging a fake drug bust to cover up his crime days later.
Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez, 45, a 17-year-veteran of the force, is accused of stealing 15 bundles of cocaine from a home in Mission in July of 2012. A few days later, the officer reported that he found the bundles in a car belonging to Salvador Gonzalez.
But by then, the cocaine was highly diluted, making it 18 percent pure, “so that the bulk of the narcotic could be stolen and re-distributed for a profit,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
Following the seizure of the car, Gonzalez, the accused drug trafficker, was arrested and charges relating to the cocaine were filed against him. He then explained to officers that he had delivered the cocaine to a home in Mission days prior in different packaging than what Mendez claimed to find, but that it had already been seized by officers who showed up at the home upon receiving a tip from an informant.
Gonzalez also reported that he had never driven the car that the bundles were allegedly found in.
Reynol Chapa-Garcia, 36, corroborated Gonzalez’ story when he admitted to investigators to working with Mendez to stage the raid. He explained that he had delivered the cocaine to the home and Mendez came and staged the raid days later. Chapa-Garcia reported that they had arranged to dilute the cocaine so that it could be “stolen” and redistributed for profit, The Monitor reported.
Chapa-Garcia also confirmed to investigators that Mendez had staged the second drug bust to conceal the first.
An analysis performed on the drugs found that they weighed 14.9 kilograms and that they had been so heavily diluted they were only 18% pure.
Federal investigators who have questioned Mendez noted that he has made multiple inconsistent statements regarding the incident.
Mendez’s defense attorney, Carlos Garcia, has stated that his client denies all of the the allegations.
The veteran officer as well as his cohort Chapa-Garcia have been charged with possession with intent to distribute and could face life in prison and a 10 million dollar fine if convicted. Both men were arraigned on Monday.
Mendez spent two days in jail before he was released on a $50,000 bond Wednesday. He remains on paid administrative leave.
Last year, two officers from the Mission Police Department, Alexis Espinoza and Jonathan Trevino, were both sentenced for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy involving many law enforcement officers from the area.