BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Three men have been arrested by the Auto Theft Task Force in Brownsville.

Javier Ortega

Eric Jay Rodriguez

Victor Pena Cardoza

Javier Ortega, 25; Eric Jay Rodriguez, 20; and Victor Pena Cardoza (AKA Miguel Pena), 37, were taken into custody Dec. 28, 2022, on various charges relating to the theft of motor vehicles, the Brownsville Police Department told ValleyCentral on Wednesday.

“The Auto Theft Task Force was conducting surveillance and noticed the target suspect vehicle in the process of stealing a car,” stated Investigator Martin Sandoval, public information officer for the police department. “All three suspects were taken into custody. It was determined that these suspects are responsible for several thefts in Brownsville and throughout the Valley.”

According to police, the men would park next to a target vehicle and swap out the vehicle’s computer system with one of their own. They would then turn the vehicle on with a key that was programmed into their computer, police said.

The stolen vehicle would then be taken into Mexico, police said.

“Javier Ortega and Eric Jay Rodriguez were taking orders from Victor Pena Cardoza,” police said.

According to the Brownsville Police Department:

  • Ortega was charged with theft, evading arrest on foot and resisting arrest, and his bonds totalled $20,000.
  • Rodriguez was charged with unlawful use of criminal instrument and bond was set at $20,000.
  • Cardoza was charged with unlawful use of criminal instrument and bond was set at $20,000.

“There are pending cases on these suspects as this investigation is still ongoing,” Sandoval stated.