Texas Border Business
EDINBURG – Two agents of the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force have been awarded top honors by the Texas Narcotic Officers Association (TNOA) and will be recognized at the organization’s annual conference in August.
HIDTA Commander Juan Pablo Sifuentes has been named “Supervisor of the Year” and Agent Genovevo “Geno” Martinez III “Narcotic Officer of the Year” for the TNOA South Region. Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., who supported the nomination of the two agents, called the recognition well-deserved.
“These agents exemplify the meaning of integrity in police work,” Rodriguez said. “Commander Sifuentes has lead the team by example and the results have been increased arrests and seizures. Agent Martinez’s surveillance and investigations have resulted in the seizure of over 5,576 pounds of marijuana, numerous tractor trailers and multiple arrests.”
The HIDTA Task Force is funded by federal grants administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s HIDTA Task Force provides leadership and interagency collaboration, promotes the sharing of intelligence and information, and provides specialized training to participating law enforcement and treatment agencies.
According to Rodriguez, in 2018, the Hidalgo County HIDTA Task Force made a total of 43 Felony arrests, 20 misdemeanor arrests, and 31 additional arrests in which HIDTA Agents assisted the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“As a supervisor, Commander Sifuentes is the most thorough in his approach to motivating narcotics agents in developing cases, achieving success, and creating an atmosphere of inclusion for all,” said Rodriguez. “He is continually evaluating, developing, and exposing every violation of the law, whether it be narcotics, financial, or civil forfeitures. Through his guidance and leadership, operation plans are logically designed to obtain the maximum amount of arrests, prosecutions, and seizures.”
Sifuentes, who took on the responsibility of leading the Hidalgo County DA HIDTA Task Force in 2016, is a 20-year law enforcement veteran. He began his career with the Weslaco Police Department and worked his way up to Chief of Police. He joined the county’s HIDTA Task Force in 2006 as an agent. During his tenure, Sifuentes has had the honor of being named TNOA’s 2013 Narcotic Officer of the Year, 2015 HIDTA Agent of the Year, FBI Task Force Officer, and HSI Task Force Officer. He has earned the respect of his peers, supervisors, the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office-Southern District, and numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
Martinez graduated from the Lower Rio Grande Valley Reginal Police Academy in 1992 and served in the La Feria and Mercedes police departments and the Cameron County Constable’s Office in La Feria prior to starting his career with the HIDTA Task Force. Martinez has received commendations from the City of La Feria and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. He also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of Homeland Security for his contribution and assistance with Operation Tarnish Badges. In 2010, Martinez received the Outstanding Interdiction Effort Award from the Executive Office of the President-Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“Agent Martinez has been committed to law enforcement for 27 years and has specialized in the field of drug investigations for over 13 years with the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office HIDTA Task Force,” Rodriguez said. “Agent Martinez has the experience and work ethic on initiating drug cases, which have helped him to obtain respect from local, state, and federal officers.”