Three suspects in drug-related shooting face judge

Three suspects in drug-related shooting face judge
NEWSCENTER 23
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Friday, November 29, 2013 - 9:08pm

The Palmhurst Police Department is taking on the first murder investigation in the city since the department started back in 2005.  Officials say the rolling shootout from Wednesday is  definitely drug-related, and it may possibly have ties to drug cartels.

Today, three suspects involved in that case appeared before a judge.  All three men are reportedly Mexican nationals residing in Hidalgo County.

Alberto De Jesus Lopez Valdez, 39, was charged with the following: Possession of a Controlled Substance ($100,000 bond), and Attempted Capital Murder ($1 million bond).  One suspect in the shooting is still in the hospital with serious injuries sustained in the shooting--if he dies, Valdez will be upgraded to a Capital Murder charge.

Jose Antonio Lepe, 42, also received a Possession of a Controlled Substance charge with a $100,000 price tag for bond.  His second charge is Organized Criminal Activity, which comes with an additional $500,000 bond.

Jose Manuel Guerra Jr., 50, faced three charges: one count Possession of a Controlled Substance ($100,000 bond), one count Organized Criminal Activity ($500,000 bond), and Evading Detention with a Motor Vehicle ($100,000 bond), giving him a total bond set at $700,000.

Palmhurst Police Chief Michael Vela said the suspects had less than one gram of cocaine on them physically when they were arrested, but there were more than 200 lbs of marijuana allegedly found by officials in one of the vehicles involved in the crime.

The suspect in the hospital will also face drug charges in addition to other potential charges.  He is reportedly a legal U.S. citizen.

The identity of the male suspect killed on Wednesday after crashing his vehicle through a fence has not been released.  Police say his family has been notified.  That individual was also a legal U.S. citizen.

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