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Thread: Informant: Former cop used drug money to pay for local constable race

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Informant: Former cop used drug money to pay for local constable race

    Topic Mexican gangs, transborder corruption.

    Informant: Former cop used drug money to pay for local constable race

    • Hector "JoJo" Mendez for Constable Facebook page

    Hector "JoJo" Mendez

    McALLEN —
    McALLEN — Reynol Chapa-Garcia became an informant for the government when he struck a deal with Drug Enforcement Administration officials in 2004 after feds busted him with cash tied to drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.
    Since that time, Chapa, 37, has worked closely with DEA agents to help seize money and drugs from Mexican cartels.

    Friday, Chapa testified for nearly two hours about his role in a scheme to rip off a local drug trafficker named Salvador Gonzalez Jr., who he met through his cousin Oscar Barrera, of the Barrera family of drug traffickers connected to cartels in Mexico.

    The third day of testimony in the government’s case against former Mission police officer and DEA task force member, Hector “Jojo” Mendez, featured Gonzalez, who began his testimony on Thursday and concluded in the early part of the day Friday, and Chapa, who the government used to finger Mendez in the drug rip off.

    Mendez was arrested last summer in connection with a scheme that sought to rip off Gonzalez of 15 kilos of cocaine, cut it, and then re-sell it for a profit. Mendez is accused of then setting up a fake seizure to confiscate the diluted cocaine.

    Chapa slowly answered questions posed by the government’s prosecutor, Kristen Reece, in Spanish. He testified he met Mendez through a DEA agent assigned to him sometime in 2011.

    The informant said Mendez often brought him bundles of marijuana that he had stolen from seizures not related to Chapa to store at his home in Mission. He said Mendez would pay him anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for helping him store his drugs there.

    Chapa also implicated another Mission police officer, Roque Vela, who he claimed joined Mendez in delivering the marijuana bundles to his home.

    Reece asked Chapa about the seizure that led to Gonzalez’s arrest, which took place July 28, 2012.
    On that day, Mission police seized a Ford Taurus that contained 15 kilos of cocaine that was later determined to be sham cocaine with less than 20 percent purity. The cocaine was supposed to be headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, at the behest of Gonzalez.

    Gonzalez testified that just days before the seizure he had dropped 15 kilos of cocaine at Chapa’s home in the Cimarron area of Mission to be transported to Charlotte.

    Chapa testified that hours after having the cocaine delivered to his home, Mendez came over and picked up the cocaine to cut, or dilute it, with the intention of then seizing it during a ‘fake’ seizure to prove to Gonzalez it had been seized by law enforcement and not ripped off, as was the case.

    When Chapa was asked if Mendez had ever discussed with him what he did with the money after selling the drugs he had stolen, Chapa said he once mentioned using the funds for a campaign he was running at the time.

    In 2012 Mendez ran unsuccessfully for Precinct 2 constable.

    Court recessed with Chapa on the stand and he is expected to remain on the stand Monday when the trial resumes.

    If convicted of the drug charges, Mendez faces up to life in prison.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    FBI agent: Melted cellphones found in former cop’s home

    Prosecution witnesses continue testimony in trial of Hector ‘Jojo’ Mendez

    • Jul 12, 2016

    McALLEN — When federal agents raided a former Mission police officer’s home last July they discovered, among other items, a large cooking pot in the backyard that was still smoldering when they found it, which contained multiple burned cellphones and government documents.

    FBI agent Scott Atwood, who was assigned to the take photos of former Mission officer Hector “Jojo” Mendez’s home in San Juan during that search, testified they also retrieved several identification cards, a Mexican passport, firearms, memory cards and multiple old police reports.

    Atwood was assigned to the FBI’s public corruption task force and was at Mendez’s home as part of the investigation into seized cocaine in July of 2012.

    During the fifth day of testimony in Mendez’s trial the government finally introduced several pieces of evidence that implicated at the very least that Mendez was attempting to get rid of items that may incriminate him somehow.

    Also called to testify was DEA group supervisor Richard Clough, who was Mendez’s supervisor after former group supervisor Richard Champion moved to the Washington, D.C., office.

    Clough testified about the months leading up to and the actual arrest of Mendez last summer.
    Specifically, Clough testified about an observation he made on Feb. 12, 2015, inside the U.S. Attorney’s office lobby, when Reynol Chapa-Garcia and Mendez crossed paths.

    “He was shocked to see Mr. Chapa,” Clough said. “He stared at him as he and (Roque) Vela left the U.S. Attorney’s office.”

    Chapa, who was an informant for the government but also a confidential source of Mendez’s, met with federal agents and government prosecutors in connection with the July 28, 2012, seizure, of which Chapa was involved.

    On July 28, 2012, Mission police K-9 officer Charles Lopez seized 15 kilos of cocaine from the trunk of a 1998 Ford Taurus in the parking lot of a Mission bakery.

    Chapa, who testified last week that he changed his story of the events of that week multiple times, said the cocaine provided for that seizure had been dropped off at his home three days earlier. Mendez, who allegedly conspired with Chapa to steal the cocaine, picked up the drugs from Chapa’s home, cut it, and then staged the seizure with Officer Lopez.

    Clough testified his agency went on the information originally provided by Chapa and Mendez’s report of the seizure, which stated it took place on July 29, 2012, and not the day before.

    But after reviewing call logs and transcribed documents of conversations between Chapa and the man he stole from, drug trafficker Salvador Gonzalez, it pointed to the possibility the seizure was on the July 28 and not July 29 as first thought.

    Clough also testified about the day Mendez was arrested and detailed his interaction with Mendez after he told him they were arresting him in connection with a drug conspiracy dating to the summer of 2012.

    When asked what Mendez’s demeanor was during this exchange, Clough said he was “calm and collected.”
    According to Clough’s testimony, Mendez asked what day the seizure was done, to which Clough answered July 29, 2012, a Sunday.

    “Mendez asked me what day that was and I told him Sunday, and he said no, that seizure happened on a Saturday,” Clough testified. “That was the first time I had heard this.”

    More revealing details from Clough’s testimony included what happened when he and other DEA agents searched and boxed up items from Mendez’s DEA work desk.

    The group supervisor said they discovered a small two-drawer bin under Mendez’s desk, which contained government and police records.

    The documents, Clough testified, related to Lopez’s seizure and two CD disks containing recorded transcripts of Chapa and Gonzalez’s conversations on the days before and after the cocaine seizure.

    Clough testified they found what appeared to be the original transcripts of those conversations, and another document with the same transcripts but with altered dates.

    On cross-examination from Mendez’s attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, Clough admitted those items were discovered more recently — specifically they were found in the weeks before the start of this current trial, which began last Wednesday.

    Clough was dismissed from the stand and court recessed for the day.

    The government is expected to call additional federal agents to testify on Wednesday, while Garcia has indicated he will be calling up rebuttal and character witnesses on Mendez’s behalf.

    The trial, which was expected to conclude Wednesday, is now expected continue through Friday.

    If convicted of the federal drug charges, Mendez could face up to life in prison.

    Beezer likes this.

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