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Sinaloa Cartel-linked human smuggler convicted for attacking Border Patrol agent with rock

May 16, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Sinaloa Cartel-linked human smuggler convicted for attacking Border Patrol agent with rock

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A notorious human smuggler, who was previously deported from the U.S., was found guilty of assaulting a U.S. Border Patrol agent with a softball-sized rock.

Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, was convicted by a federal grand jury on Friday for assaulting a federal official after he threw a rock at an agent, which struck him on the side of the face, the Department of Justice revealed in a statement.

Valencia was convicted on all counts, including assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and smuggling aliens for financial gain. Valencia is facing 20 years behind bars for the assault charge and five years for each smuggling charge when he is sentenced on August 28th, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“On November 15, 2015, less than two months after his deportation to Mexico following the completion of a 33-month sentence for an alien smuggling conviction, Valencia re-entered the U.S. guiding 15 undocumented immigrants,” the DOJ stated.

Border Patrol agents caught the group of migrants Valencia was smuggling near Jacumba Hot Springs, which is located southeast of San Diego, at which time he picked up a rock and threw it at the agent from approximately 10 yards away.

The CBP uncovered links between Valencia and the Sinaloa Cartel.

The assaulted Border Parol agent testified he had never been hit so hard and that he thought he broke his jaw.

Valencia managed to flee as he escaped back across the border. Mexican officials arrested Valencia and turned him over the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in March 2016.

Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson emphasized the risk that Border Patrol agents undergo every day as they defend the border from dangerous criminals.

“The conditions are treacherous, and our courageous agents put their lives on the line every day to protect our country,” Robinson stated. “This verdict tells us that the safety of our agents is of importance and attacks on our agents will come at a price.”

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