Out on bond: Mercedes teens’ social media threat case in DA’s hands

MERCEDES — Jose Cano is out on bail.

He went to jail last week for sending a Tweet that caught the attention of authorities.

Cano was released on a $10,000 bond yesterday morning. His bond was originally set at $250,000 by Mercedes Municipal Judge Juan Alvarez.

Cano’s bond conditions are no social media use, he must stay away from Mercedes High School, no contact with co-defendant, must wear an electronic monitor and has a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily curfew.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said his office had been in talks with parents and attorneys about possible bond reductions.

Cano and Roen Lerma both 17 were arrested Jan. 13 for making terrorists threats against Mercedes High School. Lerma still is in custody.

“Because they are felony offenses, the students may be expelled,” said Dr. Daniel Trevino, Mercedes superintendent of schools.

Trevino said chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code of procedure states felony offenses are expellable violations.

“The school district will take action based on the outcome of the authorities,” Trevino said.

Mercedes Police Chief Olga Maldonado said, “the law is the law, and they are entitled to make bail.”

Maldonado said the Mercedes Police department hand delivered the investigation last week to the district attorney’s office.

Maldonado also said the district attorney’s office was requesting the report quickly to consider bond reductions.

Roen Lerma the other senior arrested is still in jail. His $250,000 bond has not been reduced.

District Attorney Rodriguez said, “Incidents like this are very sensitive because what has happened around the country.”

The Sandy Hook Elementary, Virginia Tech University and Columbine High School shootings left many students dead in cold blood when gunmen entered those schools with automatic weapons.

Rodriguez said the message needs to be sent out that this kind of messaging will not be tolerated.

Rodriguez also said if they were joking, there will still be consequences.

“We are not going to put up with this,” Rodriguez said. “At this point they’re adults and they have been arrested as adults.”

Cano and Lerma both senior students were charged with a third degree felony for terrorist threatening messages posted on Twitter.

At 9:11 a.m. Lerma tweeted “9/11 make a wish,” while sitting in class at the Mercedes Early College.

Cano, sitting in class at Mercedes High School liked Lerma’s message.

At 9:16 a.m. Cano responded to Lerma, “I wish for another 911.”

Lerma responded at 9:24, “JC should come by the school and shoot it up.”

Authorities from the Tactical Institute contacted the high school soon after the tweets were posted on the social network around 9:30 a.m., according to the Dr. Trevino.

“We have to take these situations very seriously because the outcome of the events could have been a lot worse if those threats had been followed through,” Trevino said. “We were commended by authorities on how we responded and how the situation was handled.”