Sheriff’s office: Man beaten and kidnapped at basilica

Ricardo Sanchez, Ramon Garza Jr., Alfredo Barrera, Elmer Mercado, Cipriano Vargas and Andres Garza Garcia

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office says it arrested six men who they accuse of meeting a 21-year-old man Monday morning at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, where they beat him before kidnapping and taking him to another location.

The sheriff’s office says Texas Department of Public Safety Narcotics Unit troopers working an investigation in the 3900 block of Albanian Street in rural Edinburg rescued the man after pulling over what they say was a suspicious vehicle with three men in it leaving a residence.

“As DPS Troopers interviewed the driver, they observed the front passenger a 21-year-old male requesting for Troopers to help him. Troopers quickly learned the 21-year-old man was being held against his will,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “The victim claimed he was bound with black electrical tape and beaten. Troopers were able to corroborate the victim’s story after items used to bind the victim’s hands were found in the driver’s possession.”

The sheriff’s office identified the driver as 26-year-old Rio Grande City resident Ricardo Sanchez and said Cipriano Vargas, a 21-year-old Rio Grande City man, was in the vehicle’s rear passenger seat.

The sheriff’s SWAT team was called to search the residence in question. DPS then pulled them over to look for additional people being held and arrested the homeowner, 47-year-old Edinburg resident Alfredo Barrera, 37-year-old Mission resident Andres Garza Garcia, 23-year-old Rio Grande City resident Elmer Mercado and 24-year-old Rio Grande City resident Ramon Garza Jr., according to the news release.

Authorities say they executed a search warrant and found two firearms and other items they say were used to restrain the 21-year-old.

“Through the course of the investigation, it was learned the victim met the suspects at the Basilica De San Juan early Monday morning, where he was beaten and taken by force to the residence located at the 3900 block of Albanian,” the news release stated. “The kidnapping is believed to have occurred over a dispute involving property.”

All of the men are charged with aggravated kidnapping and each received a $50,000 bond.