Appeal dismissed for man convicted in 2011 cartel spillover case

Hernandez

An appellate court has dismissed an appeal filed by a 35-year-old man years after he was convicted for his role in what Hidalgo County’s former sheriff called the Rio Grande Valley’s first case of cartel “spillover” violence.

The 13th Court of Appeals made its ruling Wednesday in the case of Jose Luis Agado Hernandez, who is spending 22 years in prison on two counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer and three counts of kidnapping.

Hernandez was one of five men commissioned by the Gulf Cartel nine years ago to track down loads of drugs that were stolen after one of the organization’s bosses, Samuel “Metro 3” Flores Borrego, was shot and killed on a highway in Mexico in September 2011.

The shooting of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputy came at a time of rising violence between factions of the Gulf Cartel as well as with Los Zetas, the cartel’s former armed wing that split with it a year earlier, ushering in several years of severe violence in Tamaulipas.

Hernandez, along with 39-year-old old Carlos Zavala, 45-year-old Juan Ignacio Hernandez, 41-year-old Jose Luis Alvarez and Daniel Gonzalez Perez, who was 19 when he was shot dead during the violent incident on Oct. 30, 2011, had kidnapped three men in an effort to find a stash house where Gulf Cartel operatives believed stolen marijuana had been hidden.

The attempted recovery of the drugs was at the behest of Borrego’s replacement as rival gangs and members of opposing factions began stealing drug loads after Borrego’s death, newspaper archives indicate.

The shooting incidents involving the deputy and Perez occurred near Val Verde Road and FM 2812 north of Elsa after two Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies responded to a possible kidnapping and spotted the suspect vehicle, which was a stolen brown Ford F-150, according to archives.

Within less than three minutes into the traffic stop, gunfire erupted.

At the time, former sheriff Lupe TreviƱo, who was later convicted of money laundering for taking a campaign contribution from a drug trafficker, said the violence was the first incident of cartel “spillover” violence.

“I have to say … this is our very first reported spillover-violence event that we have experienced. And unfortunately, it got one of our deputies shot,” he said.

The former sheriff was sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 and released in January 2019.

As for Hernandez, he filed his appeal more than five years after his conviction.

The 13th Court of Appeals ruled that it didn’t have jurisdiction to consider the untimely appeal.

“Appellant may be entitled to an out-of-time appeal by filing a post-conviction writ of habeas corpus returnable to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; however, the availability of that remedy is beyond the jurisdiction of this court,” the ruling states.