Edinburg convict and ex-Border Patrol agent accused of threatening fed

A recently convicted former U.S. Border Patrol agent faces another serious federal charge after allegedly threatening a federal agent following a court hearing.

According to an Oct. 7 filing, Daniel Polanco allegedly threatened a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent at the conclusion of a scheduled court hearing related to Polanco’s July conviction in a drug trafficking case.

Polanco, of Edinburg, was in Houston on Oct. 3 for a hearing related to his recent conviction in a drug trafficking case in July.

The 37-year-old ex-Border Patrol agent was in Houston to argue for a motion for a new trial that the court subsequently denied.

After the hearing, Polanco was headed toward the exit when he turned to an HSI agent, who had been present during the jury trial in July, and made comments that the agent took as a threat.

The complaint read that Polanco walked toward the special agent, “who was sitting in the last row of the courtroom closest to the exit,” following U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellision concluding the hearing.

“When (Polanco) was feet away from (the special agent), he stopped, pointed at (the agent) and said: ‘This is gonna come back to you m——————. You’ll see,’” the complaint further read. “(Polanco’s) tone was angry and menacing. (Polanco) then opened the exit door and walked out of the courtroom.”

The HSI agent, according to the complaint, felt “alarmed, concerned, and threatened,” by Polanco’s statement and gesture.

On Tuesday, Polanco appeared before U.S. Magistrate Juan F. Alanis, after the government filed a complaint related to the threat.

During that hearing, Alanis set a detention hearing for Oct. 15, and advised Polanco to retain an attorney with regard to the threat charge, records show.

Polanco and several others were convicted this summer in connection with an investigation into corrupt law enforcement.

Carmen Saldana Myers and more than a dozen other drug-runners were accused of using corrupt law enforcement, including ex-Edinburg police officer Hector Beltran, and Polanco, to move cocaine from the Rio Grande Valley to Houston.

The investigation, part of Operation Blue Shame, began in 2010 and resulted in the arrest of 15 people, including four law enforcement officials: Beltran, Polanco, a former Harris County constable and a Houston police officer. Two others who were also indicted remain fugitive, court records show.

The government contends members of an unnamed drug trafficking organization paid off law enforcement to help them coordinate fake drug seizures in Edcouch and Houston and later sold the stolen drugs.

The officials would allegedly seize cocaine, but turn in sham drugs to their agencies. The actual cocaine would then head to Houston to be sold there.

At the time of their indictments in May 2016, both Beltran and Polanco were veterans of their respective agencies. Beltran was a 14-year-veteran of the Edinburg Police Department who once served as president of its union, and Polanco had been an agent for nine years.

Operation Blue Shame was also responsible for putting former La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez behind bars. Hernandez was recently sentenced to a 240-month prison sentence.

Polanco, who the jury found guilty of three charges, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, possession and distribution of cocaine, and giving a false statement, is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 11, records show.

Beltran, 44, also of Edinburg, was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 11, records show.

lzazueta@themonitor.com