Joe Padilla

Former sheriff’s bag man lands 38 months in federal prison

By G. Romero Wendorf
The ninth-floor federal courtroom was packed last Thursday. The big day had finally arrived – the sentencing of former Hidalgo County Sheriff Commander Jose “Joe” Padilla and the Weslaco-based drug trafficker who brought him down – Tomas “El Gallo” Reyes Gonzalez. On the left side of the courtroom, where the jury would typically sit had a trial been underway, Gonzalez and his band of co-conspirators sat, most with heads hung low, most wearing shackles. None of them had ever apparently made bond. The U.S. marshals brought then into the courtroom and escorted them out.
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