HOUSTON – The man who was seen fleeing with a tiger in a west Houston neighborhood was arrested at his parents’ house in Richmond Monday evening, according to his attorney.
Victor Hugo Cuevas was charged with felony evading arrest after authorities said he captured a tiger who was caught prowling around the front yard of a home in the Fleetwood subdivision on Ivy Wall Drive.
Police said Cuevas fled the scene with the tiger in a Jeep Cherokee, leading police on a short police chase before officers lost sight of him.
UPDATE #2: Victor Hugo Cuevas is in custody. The whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 11, 2021
Anyone with information on the tiger is urged to contact HPD Major Offenders at 713-308-3100.#hounews https://t.co/TkaAtK45MC
Cuevas’ lawyer, Michael Elliott, told KPRC 2 that his client had planned on surrendering at the Harris County Jail Monday evening, but was arrested shortly before in the 24300 block of Bella Veneza Drive.
Elliott expressed outrage over the arrest, accusing HPD of neglecting its part of an agreement for Cuevas to turn himself in at the Harris County Joint Processing Center downtown.
Instead, Cuevas was arrested and taken to the Fort Bend County Jail for violating his bond on a 2017 murder charge, and evading arrest.
“All they want to do is lock people up and presume them to be guilty, and let them try to figure it out later. It’s terrible,” Elliott said, adding Cuevas has been implicated in a trove of assumptions that are not true. “Because my client was the one who caught this tiger, who went out and got it, brought it back to safety, everyone is just assuming that he’s the owner of the tiger and that it’s his tiger,” Elliott said.
Elliot said although his client does not own the tiger, he could not elaborate on his connection to the animal or how Cuevas separated from the animal Sunday. He also said the tiger is named India and is approximately nine months old. Elliot said he tried working with authorities to locate the owner and the tiger.
“I’ve given them (HPD) information to try to work with them to try to find its owner, but they don’t even seem like they care,” Elliott said. “All they want to do is put people in jail.”
The tiger’s whereabouts are still unknown as of Tuesday evening, police said.
“Where is the tiger? That’s a good question,” Elliott pressed, insisting the big cat did not belong to Cuevas.
Cuevas was out on a $750,000 bond after a murder charge in Fort Bend County. Authorities said in 2017, Cuevas allegedly shot a man outside of a Buffalo Wild Wings on the Grand Parkway. On July 28, 2017, Cuevas was arrested at an airport when returning from Mexico and later bonded out. More recently, Cuevas was arrested in November 2020, for bond revocation. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation remains open.
Cuevas has had his bond revoked at least four times since the 2017 charge and has been in and out of the Fort Bend County Jail.
“Mr. Cuevas has bonded out and had his bond revoked and reinstated several times on the murder charge,” said Wesley Wittig, executive assistant District Attorney.
Wittig said his office objected to those reinstatements and would object if his bond gets reinstated following the Harris County evading arrest charge. Wittig said the DA’s office filed a motion on Tuesday to have Cuevas’ bond revoked.
“If the motion to revoke bond is heard and granted by the judge here, he would stay here and Harris County would wait until we process him with that,” Wittig said.