Former Presidio County Sheriff Rick Thompson may have been convicted of a felony for his role in smuggling cocaine worth $48 million dollars, but his portrait still hangs in a place of honor on the wall with every other past and current sheriff of the county.
Thompson served as sheriff from 1973 until 1991, when he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and illegal possession of dangerous weapons. He pleaded guilty and received a life sentence, which was later reduced to 360 months. He was released in April of 2018.
Despite his criminal record, Thompson’s portrait still hangs in the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, alongside the portraits of every other past and current sheriff. The decision to keep his portrait up has caused controversy among residents and law enforcement officials.
Some argue that Thompson’s portrait should be taken down as a symbol of the county’s commitment to upholding the law and preventing drug trafficking. Others argue that Thompson served as sheriff for many years and his portrait should remain as a historical artifact, regardless of his criminal past.
While the debate over Thompson’s portrait continues, his release from prison brought attention to the issue of drug smuggling across the Rio Grande River, which remains a major problem for law enforcement officials in the area.