FBI probes fatal shooting over U.S. border into Mexico

July 10, 2012

Chicago Tribune on July 9, 2012 released the following:

Reuters

“MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The FBI has opened an investigation into the death of a Mexican citizen, who the Mexican government alleges was shot over the Rio Grande River by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, U.S. officials said Monday.

The victim was hit by a single bullet on Saturday, close to the Tomates-Veterans border crossing in Matamoros, Mexico, over the border from Brownsville, Texas, according to the Mexican government.

U.S. agents are cooperating in the probe of the death, although they do not know if they fired the gun that killed the victim, Enrique Mendiola, spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector said.

Mendiola believes the victim was a 29-year-old male, but Mexican officials have released no details.

On the Saturday when the killing happened, two agents had fired their service guns into Mexico at approximately the same time and near one another, Mendiola said.

The first agent had responded to someone throwing rocks at him, while the second agent had responded to someone aiming a weapon at him, Mendiola said.

Mendiola said that agents are permitted to respond to rock attacks with their guns and to fire into Mexico.

“A rock could be considered a lethal weapon and we are going to respond. Agents have been very badly injured by rock attacks,” Mendiola said. “Our agents are highly trained and regardless of where the threat is coming from, our agent is going to respond to neutralize it.”

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Sunday condemning the killing and demanding an investigation.

“The Mexican government has reiterated that the disproportionate use of lethal force in immigration control is unacceptable under any circumstances,” it said. “Protocols of the federal forces in both countries have to be respectful of human rights.”

There have been several previous incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans in U.S. territory but it is rare for them to shoot into Mexico.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ralph Hunt a Border Patrol Agent Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury For Making False Statements

July 25, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Arizona on July 22, 2011 released the following:

“TUCSON, Ariz. – A federal grand jury in Tucson returned a three-count indictment on July 21, 2011, against U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ralph Hunt, of Tucson, for making false statements during a compelled interview. Hunt will be issued a summons to appear for an initial appearance on the indictment before a Federal Magistrate Judge.

The indictment alleges that on the afternoon of May 21, 2009, while on duty, Agent Hunt performed a traffic stop of a black GMC Denali. As Hunt approached the vehicle to question the occupants, the vehicle fled. After a pursuit that lasted approximately 45 minutes and over 30 miles, the occupants of this vehicle were arrested.

As part of his normal job duties when an arrest is made, Hunt prepared a Report of Apprehension, also known as an “I-44,” which documented the vehicle stop, the pursuit, the arrest of the occupants of the GMC Denali, and the seizure of marijuana. This I-44 is then submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration in order for that agency to present the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.

On September 25, 2009, as a condition of Hunt’s employment with the Border Patrol, the defendant participated in a compelled interview regarding the events that occurred during the pursuit and statements made in his I-44. Before this interview began, the defendant was advised that he could be subjected to criminal liability if he provided false statements or information during this interview. The indictment alleges that Hunt knowingly and willfully made three material false statements during this compelled interview. Count One alleges that Hunt falsely stated that he thought there was a child in a black GMC Denali that he had been pursuing, and that is why he told the Border Patrol dispatch to tell the Arizona Department of Public Safety that he was chasing a sexual offender and that there might be a child in the automobile. In truth and in fact, defendant knew that there was no child in the automobile and he is alleged to have intentionally made that statement to gain assistance of DPS.

Count Two alleges that Hunt falsely stated that the GMC Denali he was pursuing performed a U-turn and attempted to run him off the road, when in truth and in fact, the driver of the suspect automobile did not make a U-turn and did not attempt to run the defendant off the road.

Count Three alleges that Hunt falsely stated that the driver of the GMC Denali avoided attempt to spike the vehicle’s tires near Milepost 16 on State Road 286 by driving in hazardous manner. In truth and in fact, the driver did not avoid the spiking attempt by driving in a hazardous manner, nor did the defendant see the manner in which the driver avoided the spiking attempt and no other agent communicated to the defendant how the driver avoided the spiking attempt.

A conviction for a false statement carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Office of Internal Affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in Tucson. The prosecution is being handled by Karen Rolley and Eric Markovich, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER: CR-11-2572TUC RCC/DTF”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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