2 charged with murder following fatal March crash

Two men authorities say are responsible for a deadly smuggling event that left two San Juan residents dead in March are scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning on a 17-count indictment that includes two counts of murder.

A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Peñitas residents Jesus Eduardo Estrada, 19, and Humberto Garcia, 27, Aug. 13 on two counts of murder, two counts of evading arrest causing death, six counts of smuggling of persons causing serious bodily injury, six counts of evading arrest causing serious bodily injury and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity.

The Texas Department of Public Safety arrested the men March 19, charging Estrada, the accused driver of the vehicle, with murder, and Garcia with engaging in organized criminal activity, jail records reflect.

The March 13 collision occurred when the men fled a DPS trooper who tried to pull them over on U.S. Highway 83 near La Joya, according to the indictment.

A Texas Department of Transportation crash report states the driver of a green 2004 Ford Expedition containing five “unrestrained occupants” was travelling eastbound at a high rate of speed while fleeing police and steered onto the grass median to pass other vehicles when it veered into the westbound lanes, causing a head-on collision with the white 2007 Nissan Sentra containing San Juan residents Leonel Martinez Jr., 45, and Aurora Chavez, 69.

Both died at the scene of the accident, which occurred at 9:27 a.m.

According to the TxDOT crash report, five people were ejected from the vehicle that struck the San Juan residents in the crash.

The men are accused of causing serious bodily injury to Lucas Morales-Xirum, Luica Perez-Antero, Blanca Lily Villegas-Diaz, Tomas Gabriel Gonzalez-Morales, Yeslin Janeth Mendez-Ramos and Presentacion Martinez while attempting to smuggle them into the United States.

The indictment also accuses the men of engaging in organized criminal activity with Guadalupe Garcia-Chavez, Esmeralda Rubell-Martinez, Luis Gabriel Medrano and Alejandra Gonzalez-Lopez to smuggle the group.

A search of court and jail records for this group only returned results for Gonzalez-Lopez, a Mission resident who was arrested by DPS on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity Aug. 5 and released on a $1,000 cash surety bond Aug. 8.

According to the TxDOT crash report, she owned the Ford Expedition.

Estrada remains jailed on a $2.5 million bond, while Garcia remains jailed on a $500,000 bond.