Attempted murder arraignment delayed by fed’s arrest

EDINBURG — A 25-year-old man Palmview police believe shot another man in the leg three times and may be tied to two kidnappings didn’t show up to court Thursday morning to be arraigned on a charge of attempted murder.

That’s because two weeks after Ricardo Serna’s May 6 arrest, federal authorities intervened and took the man into custody for being a felon in possession of an AK-47 rifle, the weapon used in the disturbance that left a man shot.

Serna remained in federal custody since May 20 and is being held without bond pending trial after Palmview Police Department detectives told a senior special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the shooting.

The ATF agent determined Serna had a drug and a weapon conviction out of Michigan, according to a criminal complaint.

He’s entered a not guilty plea to the federal charge.

A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Serna on Aug. 15 on a charge of attempted murder for shooting Emmanuel Veliz and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for threatening Jose Maria Victoria with a deadly weapon.

A probable cause affidavit for the man’s arrest says Palmview police responded to a home in the 1000 block of Ricardo Avenue on May 6 after a caller said a man had been shot during a burglary.

When police arrived, they discovered a man bleeding heavily on the living room floor.

Serna, who lived at the residence, told police he had met the victim several days before and something had gone missing from his house, causing Serna to call the man to return the item.

However, investigators say they determined Serna shot the man three times in the leg after the victim showed up at the house asking for money Serna owed him.

Another resident who police accused of hitting and punching the shooting victim called police and falsely told authorities Serna shot the victim during the purported burglary, according to the affidavit.

The day before the shooting on Ricardo Avenue, Mission police received a report of a May 1 kidnapping where a man told police a group of five armed, masked men kidnapped him from his home in the 900 block of South Bryan Road.

The affidavit tied to the kidnapping investigation against Serna states that someone struck the victim in the face with a rifle, someone placed a black bag over their head and someone drove them to an unknown location where he was drugged and beaten, causing him to lose consciousness.

“The victim remembered one of the times he regained consciousness he was being burned by an unknown metal object on his back,” the affidavit states.

The men repeatedly demanded that he pay $10,000 for his release before they eventually dropped him off at his house about a day later, according to the affidavit.

Another victim was also kidnapped on May 1 and suffered similar torture and branding at the same location, according to police.

One of the victims was able to identify Serna’s photo from a lineup as one of the people involved in the kidnapping.