MERCEDES, Texas (ValleyCentral) — This morning Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra identified two new suspects in the fatal shooting of a Mercedes teenager, who he alleges was a human smuggler.
Gerson Escobar, 20, and Erik Almarez, 22, were arrested on charges of murder, Guerra said in a news conference Tuesday.
Escobar and Almarez were both arrested by U.S. Border Patrol and are currently in federal custody for federal charges in Corpus Christi, authorities stated.
According to Guerra, the deceased, 19-year-old Carlos Garcia Ruiz, was the “ring leader” of an international human smuggling group that attempted to kidnap another victim who owed them money.
This comes after the arrest of four women, all of which were formally charged with murder and tampering with evidence before Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Place 1 Jason Peña
Ashley Dinorah Evelin Orozco, 21, and Esmeralda Lee Orozco, 19, were arrested Friday night and arraigned early Saturday morning.
Their arraignment follows two other women, Ruiz’s sister, Rosalba Sarahi Garcia-Ruiz, 17, and girlfriend, Joselyn Lomelí, 18, who admitted to their role in the murder and tampering with evidence, Guerra said. All four women have a bond of $1,100,000 each.
“Juan Ramirez stated that two armed masked men arrived at his residence and attempted kidnapping,” Guerra stated as he detailed the events that transpired on Thursday, Feb. 23.
During the abduction, one of the suspects hit Ramirez in the head with a rifle causing the rifle to fire. This ultimately caused the death of their ringleader, according to Guerra.
“We believe that he owed them some money, or he had stolen some bodies from them,” the sheriff said. “Again these are human smugglers”
Deputies spoke with another kidnap victim who said he was at a friend’s house when two women and three armed showed up.
“Valdez was ordered inside the suspects truck at gunpoint, he heard a gunshot, he was told by the men to get out of the truck,” Guerra said at the news conference. “Valdez’s ford fusion was taken by the suspects as they fled the scene”
That vehicle was used to drop off Garcia at Knapp Medical Center with a gunshot to the head. Eighteen-year-old Joselyn Lomeli and 17-year-old Rosalba Garcia transported Garcia to the hospital.
“Lomeli and Garcia both provided investigators with statements admitting to their involvement in the kidnapping,” he said.
Guerra said surveillance footage captured the shooting on tape.
The weapons used in the kidnapping and fatal shooting were recovered in a field near the crime scene.
“We recovered two rifles and a pistol,” the sheriff said.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to call the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Crime Stoppers at (956) 668-8477.
Reyna Rodriguez contributed to this report.