Associated Press Writer
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - Bond was set at $18 million Friday for a Brownsville man charged with
capital murder in the horrific Jan. 5 raid that left a half-dozen men dead in a hail of gunfire.
Marcial Bocanegra, 25, was charged with six counts of capital murder and held on bonds of $3 million
for each count. Bocanegra was arraigned Friday afternoon.
It was the first arrest in what many law enforcement officials have described as the most violent crime
in the Rio Grande Valley in recent memory. The arrest was a sign that more light will be shed on a
bold crime that Edinburg Police Chief Quirino Munoz said appeared to be "sending a message."
A week after the crime, police said they had so few clues that they were offering a $10,000 reward for
information leading to a conviction. Munoz said the arrest was not a result of the reward.
The shooting victims were found dead in and around two ramshackle houses that shared a lot in this
semirural community about 15 miles from the Mexican border.
Only Rosie Ramos, mother of two victims, survived the attack. Minutes afterward, Rosie Ramos freed
herself from the electrical wiring the assailants tied her up in and made the initial call to 911.
Ramos told police that men stormed into her home and another house on her semirural lot with
demands for drugs, money, and guns. She was made to face a wall while her son, 24-year-old Jerry
Hidalgo, was shot to death.
From noises Ramos said she heard in the second house, a ramshackle single story structure where
her sons and friends hung out, there were as many as five assailants. Ramos told police at least one
assailant wore a ski mask and a jacket with "police" on it, leading investigators initially to label it a
"pseudo cop" incident.
Police arrived to find five bodies, strewn in and outside that second house.
The dead included Hidalgo's brother Ray, 30; brothers Juan Delgado Jr., 32, and Juan Delgado III, 20;
Ruben Rolando Castillo, 32; and Jimmy Armendariz, 22. Preliminary autopsy reports revealed that
some victims were killed by a single bullet, others by many. Investigators at the scene said some
victims were not recognizable as a result of the gunshots.
The smaller structure was known as a hangout where the Hidalgo brothers and their friends would drink
beer and hold cookouts.
Munoz would say little about the investigation or whether more arrests were imminent.
"Basically, we've been working round the clock since this matter got reported to us," he said.
The arrest in a cul-de-sac of modest homes in Brownsville was made by about a dozen plainclothes
police officers, who took the suspect away in handcuffs. Munoz said the arrest was made with the
assistance of the Brownsville Police Department and was the result of an exhaustive investigation
involving several law enforcement agencies.
"We've conducted numerous searches in different places and many interviews," he said. "Our
detectives and officers worked over 1,000 hours. We've dedicated telephone lines to this investigation
and have offered rewards."
Two women in the house with the suspect also were detained for questioning.
The murder scene is about 15 miles from the Mexican border, raising speculation about ties with
border drug rings and that some assailants may have fled to Mexico.
While investigators at the scene said there was evidence of drug use in the second house, Munoz has
said it is premature to link the murders to any specific motive and that possibilities included drugs,
money, revenge or a premeditated hit.
The crime has similarities to a September attack in nearby Donna in which six Mexican women were
gunned down in a car. Two women survived.
Munoz described the stream of bullets in both attacks as "overkill" and said police from the cities have
Rachel Hartman, a 20-year-old student who had been living with Armendariz, said she suspected the
attack had something to do with drugs.
"I think it had to have been something out of revenge and getting rid of competition," she said.
Armendariz rarely went to the house, Hartman said.
"If he just wouldn't have been there ... ," she said in a telephone interview before bursting into tears.
"It's not fair, he was too young."
Edinburg is about 220 miles south of San Antonio.