By Jacob Fischler, Dave Hendricks and Ildefonso Ortiz
EDINBURG — Months of speculation and weeks of intensifying rumors reached a crescendo Friday, as Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño resigned his post and aborted his decorated four-decade career in Texas law enforcement amid ongoing federal prosecutions of eight lawmen, a former commander and his youngest son.
The move had been anticipated for weeks, but the fallout from the Hidalgo County’s highest-ranking lawman could still be significant.
“The sheriff’s office is a very large department with many individuals and assets, hopefully they have the infrastructure in place to keep operations running smoothly during this transition,” said Victor Rodriguez, the McAllen police chief. “We believe they do. We rely on each other to help maintain the community safe.”
Hidalgo County commissioners will appoint Treviño’s successor Wednesday morning, but in the interim, no single leader will head the department of 700-800 employees. Instead four, commanders will collectively run the department Treviño steered for more than nine years.
Between June 16 and August 21, party precinct chairs will nominate candidates to run in the November general election, which was not previously scheduled to include a contest for sheriff. The winner of that contest will take office as soon as possible after the votes are made official.
Treviño did not talk to reporters Friday, but he reached out directly to the supporters through his campaign Facebook page, where he reposted his resignation letter and an accompanying note:
“I do this with a very heavy heart but it is in the best interest of the County of Hidalgo and my family,” the post read. “Please take the letter and it’s (sic) contents for face value. Rumors run abound but they are rumors until they become fact.”
The last sentence was an apparent reference to speculation the resignation was a prelude to a federal indictment. Charges against Treviño himself have not been filed.