4th Suspect Still At-Large in ‘Spillover’ Shooting Arrested, Charged with Attempted Capital Murder
EDINBURG — Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies nabbed a fourth suspect who was at large after a police shooting Oct. 30 that Sheriff Lupe Treviño labeled the first direct spillover violence here from Mexico’s drug war.
Investigators believe Jose Luis Hernandez, 26, was part of a group of five men hired by the Gulf Cartel to recover a large load of drugs stolen in Mexico, investigators said. All, except Hernandez, faced criminal charges last week.
Authorities said Hernandez and the other suspects — Carlos Zavala, 30, Juan Ignacio Hernandez, 36, Daniel Gonzalez Perez, 19, and Jose Luis Alvarez, 31 — kidnapped three suspected drug dealers in order to learn the location of a stash house, where the stolen marijuana was allegedly hidden.
But Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies foiled the abduction, stopping a vehicle that carried two of the kidnapping victims. Investigators found a third victim at a home they raided in connection with the case.
Perez, one of the kidnappers, was shot dead after he opened fire on Deputy Hugo Rodriguez, striking him twice in the chest and once in the leg. Rodriguez, who wore protective gear, suffered only one gunshot wound — to the leg.
It was unclear what role Hernandez played in the scheme or how investigators connected him to the crime, but a probable cause affidavit stated he implicated himself.
Judge Charlie Espinoza on Monday charged Hernandez with two counts of criminal attempted capital murder, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Espinoza also charged him with three counts of aggravated kidnapping, also a first-degree felony.
Espinoza set Hernandez’s bond at $3.5 million.
Naxiely Lopez covers law enforcement and general assignments forThe Monitor. She can be reached at [email protected] or at (956) 683-4434.
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