Texas police officer Geovani Hernandez has held quite a few titles in law enforcement. In 1996, he started working as a jailer for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and rose to the rank of reserve officer. In the next years years, he worked for the police departments in Progreso, Alamo, Pharr, La Joya, Welasco, La Villa and Elsa. In 2014, he became police chief in La Joya, but resigned, returning to Progreso for a spell as a reserve officer, then went on to work the same position in Progreso, La Villa and Los Indios. His last job was sergeant in Progreso.
During that time, Hernandez had political aspirations. In 2012 and 2014, he ran failed campaigns to become sheriff of Hidalgo County. During the 2012 campaign, he warned constituents that the area was “infested with drug cartel members.”
“We need to protect our families,” he said during a speech. “What happens here affects the rest of the United States of America. I have worked terrorism, I have worked borders before. I do not protect drug dealers.”
However, according to federal investigators, Hernandez was so concerned with the actions of the cartels because he was directly involved with them. He was arrested earlier this month after a year-long investigation called “Operation Blue Shame.” Informants wore wires while talking to him and caught him on tape bragging about his relationship with shot callers in the Gulf Cartel and admitting to needing the illegal activity to finance his political campaigns.
Hernandez’s love of Mexican cartel culture could be seen when he appeared as a corrupt cop in a video for “6,000 Kilos” by Gerardo Hernandez. The tune is what is called a “narcocorrido,” a genre of of Mexican music that lauds smugglers, cartel kingpins and border runners.
According to the Washington Post:
The first steps in Hernandez’s downfall came in August 2016 when, according to affidavits filed by law enforcement in federal court, a confidential informant approached U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division at McAllen with a tip on police-assisted drug running in the area. Hernandez’s name was mentioned.
On May 30, 2017, a second confidential informant met with Hernandez. In the conversation, the police officer allegedly bragged he was “a close friend” of Juan Manuel Loza-Salinas, a Gulf Cartel boss killed by Mexican authorities in a shootout in April 2017, according to court files. The officer also boasted those connections meant he could travel into Reynosa, Mexico — Gulf Cartel territory — “without any problems.” The lawman also confided he “needed money for his campaign for Hidalgo County Constable,” an elected law enforcement job in the region.
The informant told Hernandez his organization was sending cars north and needed the police officer to run license plate checks on certain vehicles. Hernandez agreed, according to court documents, offering to do the work for $1,000. KRGV television reported that at a later court hearing, a federal agent testified Hernandez’s negotiations with the informant were recorded, but the tape was hard to hear. Hernandez was playing “narcocorridos” too loudly in the background.
Court documents state that on June 2, the informant gave Hernandez the vehicle numbers he wanted run, as well as $1,000. Two days later, Hernandez returned with a printout with the needed information. Later in the month, the informant paid Hernandez $2,000 to run a name through a police database to check whether the individual was a law enforcement informant.
In July, the informant told Hernandez that he needed help with overseeing a car loaded with “items” on a trip from Progreso to Pharr, for which he promised $10,000. The informant offered to split the pay with Hernandez if the car made it from point A to point B without any problems. According to court documents, Hernandez told 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.”
On July 15, the authorities loaded a vehicle up with 10 keys of white powder (only one was actual cocaine). A “cooperating defendant” got behind the wheel and the informant contacted Hernandez about helping them get through Progreso. The car eventually made the delivery successfully. Hernandez was given $5,000 the next day.
Hernandez was arrested on August 14. He faces charges of aiding and abetting, attempt to posses with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and possession with attempt to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The disgraced officer was fired from the Progreso the day of his court appearance. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos granted Hernandez $100,000 bond. It is unclear whether or not he posted it.