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February 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: assault

Raleigh Man Gets 3+ Years in Prison for Assaulting Female TSA Officer

By Steve Neavling

A Raleigh man who assaulted a TSA officer in March 2022 after she found fake ID cards inside his luggage was sentenced Friday to more than three years in federal prison.

Adonis Fabian Zorrilla, 27, was going through a checkpoint when the TSA began inspecting his bags. They discovered 17 fake ID cards with Zorilla’s photo and a variety of names. 

At that point, Zorrilla grabbed the TSA officer’s arm and tried to grab the ID cards from her, tearing one of her ligaments. 

He fled the airport, leaving behind his shoes and other belongings at the airport. 

Zorrilla was arrested for forgery in Georgia and brought to the Eastern District of North Carolina. He later pleaded guilty to the charge. 

A federal judge sentenced him to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release. 

The FBI and Raleigh-Durham Police Department investigated the case. 

Knife-Wielding Undocumented Immigrant Sentenced to Prison After Attacking Border Patrol Agent

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

An undocumented immigrant who attacked a Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona in January was sentenced to seven to nine years in federal prison on Thursday. 

Rey David Marquez pleaded guilty to attempted murder of a federal officer in October.

The FBI said a Border Patrol agent was trying to handcuff Marquez in Hereford when the man punched the agent several times and tried to take his firearm from his holster, Herald/Review Media reports.

After a struggle for the weapon, Marquez tried to stab the agent with a knife. The agent was able to gain control of the knife, and Marquez was captured by other Border Patrol agents after he fled. 

Migrants ‘Brought to Justice’ After Assaulting Border Patrol Agents

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Two migrants have been sentenced for assaulting Border Patrol agents in separate incidents in the Rio Grande Valley. 

They are a Mexican national and Honduran national, according to CBP.

On Feb. 18, while agents were apprehending a group of migrants near Hidalgo, one of them, Carlos David Moreno-Ortega, shoved an agent into the Riot Grande and called on another migrant to hit him with a rock. 

Moreno-Ortega was arrested after a brief struggle. 

On Dec. 15, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for assaulting a federal officer. 

On April 13, a Honduran national, Alexander Salgado-Merlo, struck an agent with an open palm to the chest and head while the agent from the Rio Grande City station tried to apprehend him in Roma. 

The agent pepper-sprayed Salgado-Merlo and arrested him. 

On Nov. 30, he was sentenced to 14 months in jail for assaulting a federal officer. 

“These types of cases highlight the dangers Border Patrol agents face on a daily basis in the Rio Grande Valley,” RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement. “I will always prioritize to seek prosecution of those harming the life and safety of our agents. Thankfully, these perpetrators were brought to justice through the combined efforts of our agents, fellow law enforcement and U.S. Attorney partners working together to keep our law enforcement and communities safe.”

Man Who Kidnapped, Attacked Border Patrol Agent with Machete Was Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison

Fernando Angel Puga

By Steve Neavling

A New Mexico man who kidnapped and brutally beat an off-duty Border Patrol agent with a machete in June 2017 was sentenced to 31 years in prison, the Justice Department announced Tuesday

Fernando Angel Puga, 37, of Las Cruces, and his co-defendant Sergio Ivan Quinonez-Venegas, of Mexico, were arrested nearly two years after the attack. 

A federal jury found Puga guilty of kidnapping, carjacking causing serious bodily injury and transportation of a stolen vehicle in interstate commerce in May. 

Agent Lorenzo Hernandez, who is assigned to the agency’s Deming area, was helping his mother at her food truck when two suspicious men, one of whom had a gun, asked Hernandez for a ride on June 9, saying their car had broken down. 

Worried that the men would harm his mother and minor brother and nephew, Hernandez offered the strangers a ride in his 2014 Ford Focus.

One of the suspects stuck a gun into Hernandez’s ribs and said, “This is a kidnapping.”

During a 50-mile drive to an area outside of Las Cruces, the suspects threatened to kill him. When the car stopped, Hernandez confronted the men outside of his car and a struggle over the gun ensued. 

Puga struck and stabbed Hernandez with a machete. 

Hernandez was taken to the hospital with fractures to his skull and arms and severe stab wounds to his body and fingers.

“When faced with a deadly situation, the victim fought off the attackers and managed to escape,”  Jeffrey R. Downey, special agent in charge of the FBI’s El Paso Field Office, said in a statement. “The courage and determination showed by the victim is awe-inspiring. The victim was not only able to escape but also assist law enforcement in the identification and arrest of the defendant and bring about the justice deserved in this violent abduction. We hope this sentencing will help the victim heal from the physical and mental wounds inflicted in this horrific incident.”

Quiñonez-Venegas was arrested June 13 and told FBI agents that he was forced to participate in the kidnapping by Puga. Two days later, the FBI and a local sheriff’s office arrested Puga, who claimed he was kidnapped by Quiñonez-Venegas.

“I am thankful that this violent criminal will have a long time behind bars to reflect on his heinous actions while the community is made safer,” U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said in a statement. “I am also hopeful that the victim experiences healing and finds some solace in defendant’s removal from society. I laud the efforts of our law enforcement partners who worked to bring Puga to justice.” 

Quiñonez-Venegas was sentenced to five years in prison on Sept. 29. 

CBP Shoots Pepper Balls at Venezuelan Migrants After Agent Struck with Flagpole

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents shot pepper balls at a group of Venezuelans to drive them out of the U.S. during a tense and chaotic scene that unfolded in El Paso near the U.S.-Mexico border Monday. 

The migrants crossed the border and approached agents outside a station under the international bridge. One of the migrants struck an agent with a flagpole, CBP said. 

“On October 31, at approximately 12:20 p.m., a group of Venezuelan nationals attempted to illegally enter the United States while protesting along the Rio Grande River International Boundary near downtown El Paso,” CBP said in a statement. “One of the protesters assaulted an agent with a flag pole, at which time agents responded by initiating crowd control measures. These measures included the use of the authorized less-lethal force pepperball launching system. The crowd then dispersed and returned to Mexico.”

The ACLU criticized CBP for its actions. 

“This footage is highly alarming,” Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at ACLU, said in a statement. “People seeking asylum on U.S. soil should be screened for protection, not pushed back, especially through use of force.”

Blazer said the Biden administration “must end its failed attempts to scare people out of crossing into the U.S. through tactics that have led to unnecessary death and suffering, and restore a humane process for seeking asylum.”

Connecticut Man Accused of Assaulting Federal Task Force Members Indicted

By Steve Neavling

A 32-year-old Connecticut man was arrested Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of assaulting five federal law enforcement officers. 

Dennis Lee Waiters, 32, of Torrington, was under investigation for gang-related violence when members of the FBI’s Bridgeport Safe Streets Task Force and Bridgeport Police Department tried to pull over his car in Bridgeport on June 15, 2021. 

The officers activated their vehicles’ lights and sirens and exited their cars, wearing vests that bore the letters “FBI” and “POLICE.”

Waiters refused to stop and drove his car into the federal law enforcement officers and their vehicles, prosecutors allege. 

One officer fired into Waiters’ car as it careened toward the officer.  

Waiters’ car crashed into another law enforcement car and hit a pole. 

A passenger in the car fled the scene, leaving behind a semiautomatic pistol, but was apprehended. 

Waiters was charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding federal officers, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

The FBI is investigating the case. 

Former Head of U.S. Marshals Museum Pleads Guilty to Assault Charges

U.S. Marshals Museum in Arkansas.

By Steve Neavling

The president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Ark., received two suspended prison sentences of six years after pleading guilty to two charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

Patrick Weeks, 53, was accused of pointing a pistol at two construction workers outside of his house in December after refusing to let them on his property to repair a street light. 

According to authorities, Weeks continued pointing the pistol at the workers while they drove off. 

Weeks was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 23 and resigned on March 4. 

The museum hired Ben Johnson to replace Weeks in August. 

Arizona Man Charged After Narrowly Striking Border Patrol Agent With His Vehicle

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

An Arizona man accused of driving a Border Patrol agent’s vehicle off the road has been charged with assault on a federal officer with use of a deadly weapon, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Daniel Jerome Wagner, 54, of Phoenix, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Wagner was suspected of smuggling undocumented immigrants when an agent attempted to stop his speeding car near Douglas, Ariz., on Sept. 21. Wagner abruptly stopped his vehicle on U.S. State Route 80 before driving toward the agency’s fully marked Border Patrol vehicle. 

The agent drove off the highway to avoid being struck and was narrowly hit, federal prosecutors said. 

Other agents followed Wagner and arrested him. 

CBP conducted the investigation.