McAllen police arrest man accused of selling cocaine laced with fentanyl to band members

BY VALERIE GONZALEZ AND MARK REAGAN 

McALLEN — Police charged a man for selling cocaine laced with fentanyl to four men who were found unresponsive at a downtown business last Saturday. 

Jose Raquel Lerma, 31, of Donna, was charged with criminal negligent homicide, according to McAllen Police Lt. Joel Morales. 

One man, Sergio Sanchez, 29, of Alamo, died after ingesting drugs. Police responded to a call at 1:03 a.m. Saturday the Old Beer House in downtown McAllen, according to the incident report.

Sanchez was identified as a trombone player for Brownsville’s Banda La Nueva Generación de Chuy Hernandez. 

Two other men, also band members — Victor Manuel Soto, 28, of San Juan, and Jose Eduardo Paredes Franco, 27, of McAllen — were recently released from the hospital. Police arrested and charged them with possession of a controlled substance. Bond was set at $5,000. 

The fourth man remains in the hospital. 

The Hidalgo County Special Operations Division and the SWAT team executed a search warrant on Monday in the 500 block of San Antonio Circle in Alamo, according to an affidavit. 

Lerma was arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, possession of marijuana, evading arrest, and two counts of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance. Bond was set for a combined $18,000. 

Though county records show he posted bond, Lerma was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault that happened in November 2018 when he struck a man in the face with a firearm during a robbery. 

Lerma entered a guilty plea in August of this year and was sentenced to 10 years of community supervision. 

After Monday’s arrest, the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office entered a motion to revoke his community supervision citing the five new charges and Lerma’s failure to adhere to the sentencing requirements.

Lerma has been arrested about 10 times since 2006. As of Friday night, he’s booked at the county jail under the new charges, according to Morales.

Morales said the case remains under investigation by McAllen Police Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. 


mreagan@themonitor.com | vgonzalez@themonitor.com