Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

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Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro covers immigration and federal courts for The Monitor. He can be reached at lzazueta@themonitor.com or (956) 683-4452.

Pharr man gets 2 years for smuggling thousands of rounds of ammo

A Pharr man learned that he will serve more than two years in prison for his role in an attempt to smuggle over 16,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Abel Hernandez, 46, to a 27-month prison term in connection with his June 2017 arrest on federal ammunition charges, court records show. Hernandez, of Pharr, and another man, Raul Peña Sanchez, 28, of Edinburg, were arrested in June 2017 when they tried to smuggle into Mexico several thousand rounds of ammo, according to a criminal complaint. Read the full story on themonitor.com.

CBP, Starr Co. face lawsuit in Honduran man’s hanging

Less than 48 hours after being apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, a Honduran man was found dead inside his Starr County jail cell. That was last year, and now the family of the Honduran man who hung himself inside that cell is suing the government and county here. The family of Marco Antonio Muñoz, including his widow, Orlanda del Carmen Peña, filed suit Sunday against agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Starr County, its sheriff and detention officers in connection with what they allege are violations of Muñoz’s civil rights. The suit further alleges that the defendants inflicted intentional emotional distress and showed gross negligence when they separated Muñoz from his family. Reached for comment, CBP officials said they do not comment on pending litigation. Similarly, Starr County Sheriff Rene Fuentes, did not return calls for comment on the lawsuit. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Court reduces bond for Mission man accused of rape

The attorneys prosecuting and defending a Mission man accused of raping an underage girl at his mother’s sports bar agreed Tuesday to reduce the defendant’s bond, action which preceded a hearing scheduled here for the same day. Hope Palacios, the prosecutor for the state, and Roberto M. Capello, who’s representing the defendant — Genaro Fuentes, 36 — both advised state District Judge Mario E. Ramirez Jr. of their mutual agreement to reduce Fuentes’ bond from $350,000 to $175,000. The original bond amount was set last week during Fuentes’ formal arraignment on sexual assault charges. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Mission man tied to human trafficking case back in court

A Mission man accused of raping a minor at a bar owned by his mother in rural Mission is due back in court in an attempt to get his current bond reduced. Genaro Fuentes is expected to appear before state District Judge Mario E. Ramirez Jr. on Tuesday for the hearing in which his counsel will argue to lower the current $350,000 bond. Ramirez set the aforementioned bond on Aug. 8, during the 36-year-old man’s formal arraignment hearing, in which he pleaded not guilty to both charges against him, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault of a child. The charges stem from a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigation into Fuentes’ mother’s bar, Rita’s Sports Bar in rural Mission. Visit themonitor.com for the full story.

Another suspect in sex assault case pleads not guilty

A second suspect tied to a human trafficking investigation was formally arraigned Thursday in Edinburg, pleading not guilty to the rape of a minor. With his wife and daughter in the courtroom, Mariano Israel Vera, 53, of Mission, was charged with a single count of sexual assault of a child inside Judge Noe Gonzalez’s 370th state District Court. Vera’s charge is related to an incident in May 2000, in which he’s accused of sexually assaulting a minor who was working at a bar in rural Mission. “...(Vera) did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the penetration of the sexual organ of Kenia Garcia, a pseudonym, a child who was then and there younger than 17 years of age,” the indictment read. Visit themonitor.com for the full story.

Man bites off tip of father’s ear during altercation

MISSION — A man here faces serious felony charges after an altercation with family members in which he bit off a piece of his...

Alamo man arrested in connection with kidnapping

SAN JUAN — A man wanted in connection with an alleged kidnapping in May is now facing serious felony charges after Mexican authorities turned...

Starr Co. residents concerned about losing land; continue to prepare

ROMA — Starr County residents potentially affected by border wall construction convened here for a third time to receive an update on the proposed...

Donna man to be sentenced in fatal home invasion case

McALLEN — One of three men involved in a 2012 home invasion in Edinburg that turned deadly is set to be sentenced later this...

Ex-RGC cop gets 14 years in smuggling case tied to cartel

A former Rio Grande City police officer will serve 14 years for his role in moving narcotics for a drug trafficking organization, court records...