Three Charged in Kidnapping of Mission Man Who was Taken into Mexico
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 09, 2013|
MCALLEN, TX—A criminal complaint has been partially unsealed following the recent arrests of three area residents alleging their involvement in the kidnapping of a Mission resident, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Roel Garza, 25, of Rio Grande City, was arrested late yesterday and is expected to make an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby. Mexican citizen Orlando Hernandez, 26, and Jose Lorenzo Davila, 24, both of Rio Grande City, were arrested July 4 and 5, respectively.
The three were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a Mission man, which was carried out in retaliation for an alleged theft of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine tied to the Gulf Cartel.
On May 28, 2011, the victim and his wife drove to the residence of a family member in Mission, at which time three vehicles simultaneously arrived, one of which was a white Ford pickup. The driver, Gerardo Villarreal, 23, of Roma, identified himself as a police officer. The victim was placed in the truck and allegedly handcuffed by Davila. Believing her husband had been placed in police custody, the victim’s wife followed the truck but lost sight of it. She called local law enforcement about the “arrest,” at which time she was informed they had no record of such an arrest and that he was not in their custody, according to the complaint.
The victim was allegedly struck, blindfolded, gagged, and bound with duct tape, thereby immobilizing his arms and legs, and initially taken to a ranch in the Mission/Alton area. The complaint alleges that after the kidnapping, some or all the defendants became aware that they had kidnapped the wrong person. However, the victim was still transported in the trunk of a vehicle from the ranch to the Rio Grande River, where he was crossed into Mexico and subsequently murdered, according to allegations. The victim was a permanent resident of the U.S. with no criminal record and had no involvement in the theft or sale of cocaine. The victim has not been heard from or seen since this event.
If convicted, all face up to a life in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Villarreal previously pleaded guilty in a separate but related case and is pending sentencing.
The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant United States Attorney Anibal J. Alaniz is prosecuting.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.