HOUSTON — A judge sentenced a former Texas police officer to 10 years in prison Wednesday for providing assistance to drug traffickers.
U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced former Edinburg police Officer Hector Beltran, 44, to 10 years in prison during a hearing Wednesday morning in Houston, KRGV reported.
“Testimony at trial showed Beltran personally conducted and assisted other law enforcement agencies with the seizure of approximately 600 kilograms of fake marijuana and 168 kilograms of fake cocaine,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. “The jury also heard the drug trafficking organization paid Beltran for his participation in each seizure of fake drugs.”
Beltran was indicted by the grand jury in 2016 on drug trafficking charges. Edinburg Police Department suspended without pay at the time.
The indictment linked Beltran to Dimas De Leon, a Hidalgo County businessman who supervised a sprawling network of drug traffickers, according to the report.
De Leon and his associates recruited corrupt cops in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley to stage fake drug busts, which allowed the drug trafficking organization to steal drugs from its suppliers. The fake drug busts covered up the thefts, KRGV reported.
Federal agents linked at least six law enforcement officers to members of the De Leon drug trafficking organization, including two Border Patrol agents and a Houston police officer.
Beltran pleaded not guilty.
The case went to trial in July in Houston, but attracted little media attention.
“Beltran testified at trial and denied participating in the scheme,” according to the news release. “The jury did not believe his claims and ultimately found him guilty.”