Hidalgo County sheriff: Fatal kidnapping attempt near Mercedes linked to human smuggling ring

3 months 3 days 15 hours ago Tuesday, February 28 2023 Feb 28, 2023 February 28, 2023 10:41 AM February 28, 2023 in News - Local

Two more arrests were made Monday in connection with a fatal kidnapping attempt near Mercedes that the Hidalgo County sheriff said is linked to an international human smuggling ring.

Eric Eduardo Almarez and Gregson Escobar were the latest arrests in the investigation into the kidnapping attempt, Hidalgo County Eddie Guerra said in a Tuesday news conference. A total of six people —all between the ages of 17 and 22 — are now facing charges in the Thursday death of one of their own.

Deputies with the sheriff’s office responded to the 6800 block of Vera Lane Thursday at around 3:45 a.m. Thursday, where the homeowner — identified as 19-year-old Juan Ramirez — said he was assaulted by multiple armed suspects during an attempted kidnapping at his residence. 

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During the assault, one of the male suspects fired his rifle, which struck another suspect — identified as 19-year-old Carlos Garcia Ruiz.

Deputies later learned Ruiz arrived at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco and succumbed to his injuries.

Almarez and Escobar fled the scene and were arrested by border patrol agents Friday at the Falfurrias checkpoint. They’re now in custody of the sheriff’s office and are expected to face murder charges.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sheriff’s office: Three in custody in connection with fatal kidnapping attempt near Mercedes

Guerra said the group was targeting Ramirez for allegedly stealing some of their human smuggling business. 

Ramirez was also arrested on a possession of a controlled substance charge.

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