Powder cocaine. (CC/Neo Tokio)
An elderly couple says several South Texas deputy sheriffs forced their way into the couple's home searching for drugs, and when they found none, forced the husband to set up a cocaine deal.
The cops then walked away with half the stash, according to the lawsuit filed against Hidalgo County, Sheriff Guadalupe "Lupe" Trevino and the City of Mission in federal court. Elderly couple Jose and Maria Perez seek damages for civil rights violations and mental anguish, reports Courthouse News.
The complaint states that the Perezes were sitting at home when six armed men burst into their home demanding drugs last July. The "invaders" proceeded to ransack furniture and break open cabinets in their search.
"When the intruders found nothing in the home of plaintiffs, they forced the elderly couple into an unmarked SUV, and told Jose G. Perez to 'call someone that sells drugs or else,'" the complaint states.
"The driver threatened Perez that 'if he didn't call someone right away, [he] was going to take him somewhere, and you know what I mean," claims the lawsuit. Perez then looked through his cell phone and began calling people until he found someone with a drug connection who agreed to meet the officers.
After a car arrived with two kilograms of cocaine worth approximately $50,000, the Perezes were released and told not to look back or use their phones. "Mission Police records later revealed that the arrest and confiscation of the 2 kilos of cocaine was reported to be less than one-half the amount of cocaine seized," the complaint states.
Jose Perez says that during interviews after the incident, Sheriff Trevino embarrassed him by calling him "a small-time drug dealer," though he has no criminal record.
On Wednesday, the day after the Perezes filed their lawsuit, five former Hidalgo County Sheriff's deputies pleaded guilty to using their badges to steal drugs and money, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
All five men face up to 10 years to life in federal prison and $10 million in fines, and are scheduled for sentencing September 1.