Police arrest 4 people in Progreso after cartel kidnapping

3 years 6 months 3 days ago Wednesday, May 27 2020 May 27, 2020 May 27, 2020 6:37 PM May 27, 2020 in News - Local
Top: Pedro A. Moctezuma, 27, of Progreso; and Joshua Rodriguez, 23, of Harlingen. Bottom: Ashley S. Hernandez, 25, of Progreso; and Julio C. Candanoza, 27, of Progreso.

The Progreso Police Department arrested four people Monday after they kidnapped a man who owed money to a “Mexican cartel commander,” according to court documents.

At 12:01 a.m. on Monday, a woman flagged down a patrolman on the 700 block of Arroyo Street, according to Progreso Municipal Court records. Three men had just kidnapped her husband.

“Her husband owed $500.00 to a Mexican cartel commander,” according to Progreso Municipal Court records, which recount what the woman told Officer Saul Caballero. The woman added that she “knows the persons that took her husband are cartel related.”

After the kidnappers left, the woman said she received a phone call from someone who demanded $500.

“While Officer Caballero was waiting for assistance, another phone call was made to (the man’s) mother demanding the $500.00,” according to court records. “Officer Caballero heard the conversation where the demand for money was made and further heard (the man’s) mom ask what would happen if the money was not paid. The caller said that it was his money and he was getting it one way or another and hung up.”

The woman said she believed the kidnappers had taken her husband to a house owned by Pedro A. Moctezuma, 27, of Progreso.

Police Chief Cesar Solis called the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office for backup. When deputies arrived, Solis and a police lieutenant approached Moctezuma’s house.

They found the woman’s husband sitting on the ground, Solis said. Moctezuma was pointing a pistol at him.

“We saw that and acted accordingly,” Solis said.

Solis and the lieutenant arrested Moctezuma; Ashley S. Hernandez, 25, of Progreso; Joshua Rodriguez, 23, of Harlingen; and Julio C. Candanoza, 27, of Progreso.

They’re charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and engaging in organized criminal activity; a first-degree felony.

A judge set bond at $500,000 on the kidnapping charges and $100,000 on the charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.

Court records don’t list attorneys for Moctezuma, Hernandez, Rodriguez and Candanoza, who remained at the Hidalgo County jail on Wednesday afternoon and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Why they apparently kidnapped someone over just $500 remains unclear, Solis said, adding that the woman and her husband wouldn’t explain why he owed $500 to a “cartel commander.”

“We asked and they said they didn’t know,” Solis said. “They wouldn’t comment on it.”

Court records don’t identify the “cartel commander” by name.

“That is still under investigation,” Solis said.

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