RAYMONDVILLE — A judge ordered two Mexican nationals to be held without bond Tuesday after charging them with capital murder in the shooting death of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace George Solis arraigned Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, on seven charges following the Sunday night shooting death of agent Javier Vega Jr., 36, of Kingsville.
Solis set bail at $1 million on attempted capital murder charges related to Vega’s father Javier Vega Sr., of La Feria, who was shot in the hip; a total of $800,000 bail on four counts of aggravated robbery; and $100,000 bail on a charge of tampering with evidence.
The men will enter pleas before state District Judge Migdalia Lopez, Solis said. A hearing date has not been set.
Tijerina, whom investigators believe shot the agent, asked for a Bible and wanted to call his family.
“I don’t understand what I’m being accused of,” Tijerina said through a translator. “I wish I could let my wife know and my brothers who are here.”
Hernandez denied that he had gunpowder residue on his hands, a statement that Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence described as suspicious.
“I don’t have any money for food, much less pay for anything,” Hernandez said through a translator.
Solis said the men requested that they be allowed to contact the Mexican consulate’s office.
Mexican consulate representatives had been trying to interview the men, official Ramiro Ballesteros said from his Brownsville office.