Man who escaped from Progreso jail nearing plea deal

EDINBURG — A 26-year-old Progreso man accused of sexually assaulting a woman and then escaping that city’s jail, nearly took a plea deal Monday that would have sent him to prison for six years.

Adrian Edwardo Garcia had been scheduled to take a plea to two counts of sexual assault and a count of escape from custody, but his attorney Jose Martinez instead told state District Judge Rose Guerra Reyna that Garcia’s DNA needed to be tested before he could accept a plea.

That ran counter to Garcia’s hearing last Friday, where the parties agreed to the plea without DNA testing.

Garcia is also charged with attempting to sexually assault a child in a separate indictment. The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office made an offer of six years if he pleads guilty to the charge.

Initially, that case was going to remain unadjudicated if Garcia accepted the plea deal on the sexual assault and escape from custody charges.

He has entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges.

The Progreso Police Department arrested Garcia on Aug. 5 and charged him with sexual assault after he showed up at the police department to claim his lost wallet.

Police had the wallet because a woman called the Progreso Police Department to report him for sexually assaulting her friend.

According to the affidavit, the woman told police about the assault and said she saw Garcia running away after the alleged assault, leaving his wallet behind at the scene.

The alleged assault occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 3, the charging document stated.

Once he was booked, two police officers working the night shift randomly checked on Garcia, the jail’s only prisoner that night, while taking calls.

The officers arrived at the police station at around 3 a.m. after taking several calls and found out Garcia was gone and there was a large hole in the corner of one of the cells, according to the probable cause affidavit.

“A large part of the sheetrock had been torn off and the wire mesh had been pryed (sic) opened and bent outward,” the charging document stated.

After reviewing video surveillance, an officer “noticed that the defendant escaped through the hole on the ceiling and exited out the south side door of the police department,” according to the affidavit.

A manhunt ensued that included Border Patrol and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigator contacted the man’s mother, who told police she took Garcia to a hotel in Reynosa to evade capture, according to the charging document.

Authorities arrested Garcia on Aug. 6, according to county jail records.

mreagan@themonitor.com