orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

June 28, 2013

Ex-Texas deputy pleads guilty in police drug ring

Associated Press
The Orange Leader

McALLEN, Texas — A former South Texas deputy has pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking charge in a case that took down an entire anti-drug unit.

The U.S. attorney's office says 29-year-old Fabian Rodriguez, of Edinburg, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. Rodriguez, a former Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy, was a member of the rogue "Panama Unit," which prosecutors say stole drugs from traffickers only to resell them to another dealer.

Six former officers from the sheriff's office and Mission Police Department have pleaded guilty to drug charges, including the sheriff's son. The unit, created to target street-level drug crime in Mission, was disbanded following the December arrests.

Rodriguez faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10.