Fatal Kidnapping in South Texas Tied to Gulf Cartel-Connected Human Smuggling Groups


The investigation into a kidnapping that turned fatal after one of the suspects shot a fellow would-be kidnapper by accident led to another suspect’s arrest. The case is reportedly tied to a dispute between human smuggling groups connected to the Gulf Cartel.

In recent days authorities charged the last member of a group that had tried to kidnap two men in connection to a dispute over human smuggling.

The case began on February 23 when a group of gunmen stormed a house in Mercedes, Texas, and tried to kidnap two men named Juan Ramirez and Joe Anthony Valdez. During the kidnapping, one of the gunmen struck the victim on the back with the butt of a rifle, which then discharged hitting another of the gunmen, the criminal complaint in the case revealed.

Two young women who went to the house with the three kidnapping suspects rushed the injured gunman to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

In the aftermath of the case, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office revealed that the case was tied to human smuggling. During a streamed news conference, Sheriff Eddie Guerra said that the kidnapping was due to one of the kidnapping victims either owing money to the suspects or having stolen a group of migrants from them.

According to authorities, both the victims and the kidnapping suspects were involved in human smuggling and knew each other. The individuals tied to the kidnapping group included three men. These include the decedent, Carlos Garcia Ruiz, and four women. The six suspects are all facing various charges including aggravated kidnapping, murder, and others.

While authorities have not publicly mentioned the Gulf Cartel, some of the individuals charged in the case have connections with the Mexican criminal organization that controls all of the human and drug smuggling operations in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas law enforcement sources revealed to Breitbart Texas. The case is not the first of its kind where cartel-connected individuals have been linked to violent crimes in South Texas.

On October 2022, a group of masked gunmen shot three victims during a robbery in rural Donna, Texas, KRGV reported. The gunmen fired into two vehicles as two of the victims tried to drive away. The third victim was inside a home. The gunmen demanded drugs and money, a type of crime locally known as a home invasion.

On May 2019, Breitbart Texas reported on a Gulf Cartel kidnapping crew that operated in South Texas. In one of the cases tied to the group, the gunmen kidnapped two men who they planned to take to Mexico but ultimately got an order to torture and release them.