McALLEN, Texas–Federal authorities have arrested a convicted drug trafficker from Mexico accused of taking part in the Gulf Cartel ordered kidnapping and execution of a man in the border city of Mission, Texas; the cartel team took the wrong man.
Court documents obtained by Breitbart Texas tell about how a missing cocaine load was the reason a Gulf Cartel commander sent a kidnapping crew into Hidalgo County where they staked out and tried to kidnap several targets. Eventually they took an innocent man, tortured him, and hauled him into Mexico where according to prosecutors he was executed. Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby reported on that incident previously.
On Monday, 23-year-old Jose Guadalupe “Lupe” Garza Ochoa stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos for a detention hearing to determine if he should be released on bond before trial. As Garza stood before Ramos with a bowed head and held his hands behind his back, FBI agents sat in the back of the courtroom ready to testify about his involvement in the May 2011 kidnapping of Ovideo Guerrero, a man from Mission, Texas who was not involved in the drug trade but was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hearing was moved to a later date.
State and Federal authorities arrested Garza on June 9 near Rio Grande City, Texas after getting information that he was in the country illegally. Garza had been smuggling drugs and immigrants before being deported after he completed a prison term for a drug smuggling operation. Since his arrest, FBI agents were able to link the man known as Lupe to the kidnapping and likely murder of Guerrero.
Sometime in the spring of 2011, unknown individuals stole a large cocaine shipment that belonged to Gulf Cartel commander Miguel “Gringo Mike” Villarreal–so named for being born in the United States–who ordered his top hitmen to go into Texas. The hitmen were ordered to either recover the 331 pounds of cocaine that had been stolen out of Villarreal’s ranch in the Mission-Alton area or find the thieves, court records from the other defendants in the case show. Villarreal gave his team a list of men to capture and take back to Mexico. Using the ranch as a staging area, the gunmen recruited other members in the U.S. side of the border and rode around in convoys with assault weapons and grenades looking for their targets. It was during that time in early May 2011 that the gunmen including, Garza, went twice after Felipe Guerra–one of the suspected thieves–but were not able to capture him, the criminal complaint filed by the FBI and obtained by Breitbart Texas shows. The cartel hitmen set their sights on another man in their list, Gerado “Lin” Olivarez, the victim’s cousin.
On May 28, 2011 the convoy of gunmen drove two Jeep Commanders and a Ford F-150 to Olivarez’s home where they had one gunman in a police uniform with a Beretta 92 model handgun at his waist pretend to arrest their target over unpaid traffic tickets. Instead of taking Olivarez who wasn’t home at the time, the gunmen kidnapped Guerrero who had arrived at the house to pay his cousin a visit. The gunmen took Guerrero to the ranch where they tortured him only to find out that he was the wrong man and wasn’t involved in drug trafficking. Despite the error, the group moved Guerrero to Rio Grande City, roughly an hour’s drive east also along on the border, where Garza used his girlfriend’s car to move a bloody Guerrero across into the Mexican city of Camargo. From there, cartel hitmen moved Garza back to Reynosa where the Gulf Cartel boss called Gringo Mike had him executed, even though he was the wrong man.
Since the kidnapping, eight of the 10 cartel gunmen that authorities have identified, have been arrested and await trial.
Gulf Cartel Commander Miguel Villarreal died in early 2013 during a series of internal fights within the Gulf Cartel that resulted in hours-long firefights in the city of Reynosa and other areas just south of the Rio Grande.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz.