Archive for the ‘Home Insurgents Caught’ Category

Sheriff: Glad for ‘added police presence,’ DPS’s help catching home invasion suspects

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 7:09 pm

Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor

Posted on September 30, 2013

EDINBURG — State troopers taking part in controversial roadway checkpoints took down a group of teenagers allegedly behind a rash of home invasions in rural Mission, drawing praise from the Hidalgo County sheriff.

The two troopers — one from La Grange and one from Austin — were in the Rio Grande Valley as part of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s checkpoint initiative. They responded to a “be on the lookout” call made early Saturday morning by sheriff’s deputies, who were looking for a red, late-model Chevrolet pickup carrying a group of gunmen who had just ransacked a home, said Sheriff Lupe Treviño.

“Added police presence prevents and deters crime,” Treviño said Monday after the arrests. “In this case, it solved three home invasions, and the suspects are now being investigated for other similar crimes.”

The troopers initially arrested four teenagers — all male, one 18, one 17 and two juveniles — and seized one of the weapons that was used in the robbery, as well as property taken from some of the homes that had been burglarized, Treviño said. Soon after, sheriff’s investigators were able to arrest a third juvenile allegedly tied to the home invasion ring. While the seized weapon turned out to be an air rifle, investigators are still looking for at least one handgun that was used in the crimes.

The teens are accused of robbing two homes Friday night in the 3800 block of Myra Street and another one Saturday, shortly after 2 a.m. in the 6900 block of Margaret Street — all in rural Mission.

The younger teens were taken to a juvenile detention center.

On Monday morning, Leopoldo Bazaldua, 17, and Leonardo Zarasueta, 18, were taken before Justice of the Peace Bobby Contreras, who charged them with two counts of aggravated robbery and set their bonds at $1 million each.

“We were on drugs — that’s why we did what we did,” Bazaldua said as he was being escorted from the courtroom. “We are sorry.”

In this case, the victims of the home invasions are not believed to be tied to any criminal activity, the sheriff said.

“As I initially stated: I welcome the added police presence provided by the DPS task force personnel,” Treviño said.