Theft probe leads to guns, drugs, money

When Edinburg investigators worked to determine who evaded arrest after leading them in a police chase in a stolen car on April 14, they ended up with more than just an auto theft case on their hands.

Instead, the investigation lead to the arrest of three men and the seizure of four vehicles, nearly 400 pounds of marijuana, a half pound of cocaine, 26 weapons, including a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, and more than $125,000 in cash.

In a news release, police say they engaged in a chase after responding to an auto theft in progress on the 1500 block of Armagoza Drive.

“ The vehicle pursuit resulted in the driver fleeing on foot,” the release states. “The officers recovered the stolen vehicle, a 1995 Chevrolet Silverado, but no suspects were arrested at that time. Investigators were aware of two suspects at the scene of the auto theft.”

Investigators used surveillance footage and facial recognition technology and identified 41-year-old Eddi Torres-Esparza and arrested him on the 5100 block of Sunny Circle in Mission.

He remains in federal custody because his immigration status, according to the news release.

Police also made contact with 44-year-old Rosalio Rivera-Montes at Mission. According to Edinburg police, he claimed ownership of the residence and all of the vehicles on the property.

Authorities recovered a stolen Ford F250 out of McAllen at the residence and obtained a search warrant for drugs.

“ This search warrant resulted in the seizure of four vehicles, 366 lbs. of marijuana, 236.2 grams of cocaine, $126,511.00 of U.S. currency and 26 weapons to include: ten high powered assault rifles and one .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun,” the news release states.

Rivera-Montes is charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana, auto theft and money laundering.

He received a total of $195,000 in bonds and bailed out of jail on April 25.

Torres-Esparza is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and remains in federal custody.

Edinburg police also arrested 25-year-old Jose Catarino-Salinas and charged him with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

He remains jailed on a $25,000 bond.

mreagan@themonitor.com