Francisco Antonio Griego

A 45-year-old Edinburg man accused of shooting and killing a man in Palmview last December is scheduled Friday to be arraigned on a charge of murder.

A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Francisco Antonio Griego on Sept. 3 over allegations he murdered 30-year-old Federico Garza Jr. on Dec. 22 at the P and V Drive Thru at 100 S. Minnesota Road.

Palmview police and the U.S. Marshals arrested the man on Feb. 10.

A probable cause affidavit indicates Griego is claiming self defense in the shooting, which authorities believe may be rooted in a disagreement over money owed.

On the night of the shooting, Garza had been driving around in the area of Minnesota Road and Ruiz Street with his niece when he noticed Griego parked in front of the P and V Drive Thru, according to the charging document.

According to the affidavit, Garza exited the vehicle and walked toward the back office in the drive-thru and shortly after the niece told police she heard one gunshot and saw her uncle look ill, before he collapsed by the exit of the drive-thru.

The niece told investigators that Griego was in a relationship with her aunt and she said that an incident between the suspect and Garza that occurred over a few days led to the shooting, police say.

She also said Griego said he acted in self defense after the shooting, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Griego has a lengthy criminal history with multiple arrests in Hidalgo County dating back to 2002 and convictions for assaulting a family member, assault causing bodily injury and driving while intoxicated, records show.

He’s also done two stints in federal prison and was on supervised release at the time of his arrest on the murder charge.

In March, he was sentenced to two years in the Bureau of Prisons to run concurrent with any state sentence if he is convicted of murder.

He had been on supervised release transporting 11 people who were inside the country illegally, including two minors, inside a tractor trailer loaded with produce.

Border Patrol arrested Griego on Nov. 21, 2015, at the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint after a canine alerted to the trailer he was driving.

“(Border Patrol agent) Schoelles asked Griego what he was hauling in his tractor to which he replied ‘tomatoes.’ (Border Patrol agent) Schoelles asked Griego where he was coming from to which Griego replied that he picked up his trailer in McAllen, Texas, then stopped at his house to pick up some personal items,” the criminal complaint states.

When Border Patrol checked the trailer and looked under the pallets of produce they saw tennis shoes.

Border Patrol arrested him for the same charge on Dec. 6, 2006, near Hebbronville after agents found three people in the country in a vehicle rented by Griego that was apparently traveling in tandem with him, according to a complaint, which also alleges he made verbally aggressive statements and threatened to mess the agent up because he has many contacts.

He was sentenced to two years in federal prison in that case and also violated his supervision, earning another year in prison.

The violation in that case involved two separate incidents in June and July of 2011 where Griego used a gun to hit people.

The first violation happened on June 30, 2011, just before midnight at a drive-thru store in McAllen after a man who knew Griego saw him walking with a gun and asked him if he was alright, before asking whether Griego would buy him a beer.

“Mr. Griego agreed and they began walking to the drive-thru store. The releasee disclosed to Mr. Garza that he and his wife had a verbal argument earlier and the releasee was still upset,” court documents state.

As the men walked toward the store, Griego punched him in the mouth, though he initially told authorities Griego hit him in the mouth with a gun.

“The victim’s statement changed several times and he concluded he was hit with something on his mouth that really hurt. Mr. Garza was bleeding profusely and was transported to McAllen Medical Center for treatment,” court documents state.

McAllen police caught up with Griego at the drive-thru store at 200 S. 23rd St. and found .380 rounds in his pocket, as well as a baggie of cocaine.

Griego bailed out on a $7,500 bond on July 2, 2011, and five days later he was back under arrest.

In this instance, Griego’s wife attacked a tenant renting Griego’s mother-in-law’s home, court documents state.

“Mr. Griego became involved by punching (the woman) on the left side of her ribcage,” according to the document.

That woman’s sister told Griego to stop and then was punched in her face by Griego, according to federal authorities.

“Mr. Griego then pointed the gun at (the woman’s) face while yelling for her to let go of his wife. He then used the gun to hit (the woman) on the center of her stomach and the right side of her ribs,” court documents indicate.

The fight ended after Griego delivered an uppercut punch to the woman, who then ran away, according to federal authorities.

“At that time, Mr. Griego walked up to them and verbally threatened them by saying that he was with the Mexican Mafia and that his people were coming to help them,” court documents state.

He remains jailed on a $1.5 million bond.

mreagan@themonitor.com