HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — Two members of a rip crew will likely spend the rest of their lives in federal prison after being convicted of several carjackings, robberies, drug smuggling attempts, and a long list of other crimes in Hidalgo County.
On Thursday, a U.S. District Judge sentenced Marin Macrin Cerda, a 34-year-old Mexican citizen, and Jose Miguel Montemayor, a 30-year-old Mission resident, to serve decades-long prison sentences for their involvement in these crimes.
Montemayor will serve an 84-year prison sentence and Cerda will serve a 113-year prison sentence.
The elongated sentences stem from a laundry list of crimes committed by the pair from 2016 to 2017.
In that one-year span, officials say the pair worked as part of a rip crew to commit 13 carjackings, three home invasions, stole more than $2.3 million in drugs, and more.
Together, they victimized more than 35 people, according to a release.
“These defendants were the leaders of Los Mickies, a violent criminal organization that supported drug trafficking activities by engaging in multiple carjackings, home invasions, and a neighborhood shootout,” said Christopher Combs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI – San Antonio Division.
The pair conspired in multiple carjackings in McAllen, Mission, and Pharr where they fired gunshots at vehicles to commit the crime and steal a large amount of drugs.
In one of these instances, the duo threatened a family with firearms, including small children, in order to steal a tractor-trailer that contained a large sum of drugs. The crew ultimately crashed their vehicle during this carjacking attempt.
One of the home invasions occurred in Mission where the pair broke into the home of a high-profile drug trafficker and stole more than $100,000 in drug proceeds.
The pair did not act alone and their criminal organization included former law enforcement members who engaged in criminal activity while on the job.
Two of these were revealed as Juan F. Mata, a Donna ISD police officer, and Oscar De La Cruz, a Hidalgo County court bailiff.
According to a release, Mata conducted fraudulent traffic stops and allowed crew members to search for and steal drugs from the vehicles. Meanwhile, De La Cruz produced fictitious forged search warrants to steal controlled substances from various subjects.
Mata received a prison sentence of 10 years and 10 months for this offense. De La Cruz received a prison sentence of five years.
More than 30 other individuals have been convicted in this investigation with most of them receiving sentences of 10 to 20 years.
In total, Cerda and Montemayor were “convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and a crime of violence, two counts of carjacking, four counts of Hobbs Act robberies, two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and/or a drug trafficking offense and three counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and/or a drug trafficking offense,” according to the release.
Additionally, Cerda was “convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, an additional count of carjacking, an additional count of Hobbs Act robbery, two additional counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense and one additional count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or crime of violence in relation to events he participated in without Montemayor.”
Cerda and Montemayor’s defense attorneys argued that they were involved in these crimes but that co-conspirators fabricated their involvement. However, jurors did not believe these claims.
The pair will remain in custody before being transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in the near future to serve their sentences.