EDINBURG — Two of seven suspects charged with attempted capital murder stemming from a failed abduction of illegal immigrants that left two men shot were arraigned Thursday morning.
Victor Alejandro Ramirez, a 24-year-old Edinburg man, and 28-year-old Jesus Martinez, of City Creek, Texas, entered not guilty pleas to charges of attempted capital murder, engaging in organized criminal activity, aggravated assault and deadly conduct.
A third suspect scheduled to be arraigned — 29-year-old Jose Mario Cardenas — did not appear in 139th state District Court because he is in federal custody, though a search of federal court records Thursday afternoon didn’t return any results for the man.
The trio was indicted along with 37-year-old Jesus Javier Solis, of Cedar Creek, Texas; 22-year-old Edinburg resident Jose Ruducindo Anaya III; 25-year-old Francisco Gilberto Garcia Mayo, a Mexican citizen; and 32-year-old McAllen resident Yamil Garza Villarreal on the same charges.
The state on Thursday described the alleged crime that occurred on May 31 as a “drive by shooting” that left a man named Jesus Guadalupe Mares with non-life threatening injuries to his right arm and the left side of his face and left a man named David Davila unharmed, according to the Aug. 22 indictment.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement at the time that the men were sitting inside a truck near the corner of Maya Drive and Minnesota Road in the Lopezville area when someone approached and began shooting at them.
Mares and Davila attempted to flee the scene in a pickup truck, but were pursued by two vehicles.
Eventually, the truck crashed near Canton Road and Raul Longoria Road in Edinburg, according to the HCSO statement.
At the time, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said the shooting was part of a larger criminal enterprise.
“All this stems from a human smuggling case and they were — they’re all involved in human smuggling,” Guerra said at the time. “They were trying to rip off some of the money from the proceeds from each other.”
The indictment sheds more light on that accusation, alleging the group was “going to a location to obtain possession or abduct smuggled persons, shooting at individuals in a motor vehicle occupied by smuggled persons, and/or following a motor vehicle occupied by smuggled persons.”
All of the suspects remained in the Hidalgo County jail except for Cardenas, Villarreal and Mayo, who are all in federal custody.