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Tag: New Mexico

Border Patrol Agent Saves Life of Woman Stranded in Desert During Snowstorm

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent in New Mexico is credited with saving the life of a woman with hypothermia who was stranded in the desert during a snowstorm. 

Agents from the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station were called to help two people stranded in the desert on Monday. The couple had been exposed to the bitter cold for three days, and one of them was unresponsive and showing signs of hypothermia. 

An arriving agent requested medics, and after rendering aid to the woman, he carried her a half mile to his vehicle.  When EMS arrived, the medics transported her to a hospital. 

It turned out the couple had COVID-19. The responding agent has been quarantined pending testing. 

“Although I’m extremely proud of the heroic actions by our agent, this event once again illustrates the high risks of COVID-19 exposure that exists for our Border Patrol agents,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement.

“Our agents will place themselves in harm’s way, go any length, to render aid to those in need, not knowing the victims are COVID-19 positive.  Now we will take measures to quarantine our agent, sanitize and decontaminate the vehicle, and ensure our agent gets tested due to the COVID-19 exposure.”

Man Accused of Shooting FBI Agent in New Mexico Faces 20 Years in Prison

Derick Garcia

By Steve Neavling

A man accused of shooting an FBI agent who was helping execute a search warrant at an apartment in New Mexico last week was formally arraigned in federal court on Tuesday. 

Derick Garcia, 23, of Albuquerque, was charged with assault on a federal officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

The agent, who has not been identified, was struck in the forearm, taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital for care and is recovering. 

The bureau said the agent was wearing a marked vest identifying him as an FBI agent when he and other agents knocked, announced they were with the FBI and had a warrant. 

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said James C. Langenberg, special agent in charge for the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office said in a news release. “FBI special agents courageously accept the danger as part of their job. Fortunately, our agent who was shot on Friday while performing his duty is out of the hospital and recovering. His bravery is an inspiration to all of us at the FBI who have sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend the American people, regardless of the sacrifices that may be asked of us.”

Garcia was taken into custody after the shooting. 

Retired Border Patrol Agent Suspected of Killing Wife, Then Himself

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A retired 57-year-old Border Patrol agent is accused of fatally shooting his wife in Texas and then taking his own life.

Authorities say Mark Martinez, a 28-year Border Patrol veteran who retired in 2015, killed his wife inside the couple’s home in West El Paso on Wednesday, BorderReport.com reports.

The next morning, investigators discovered Martinez dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a vehicle in La Union, N.M.

Police said the body of Martinez’s wife, Norma Martinez, was found by a family member.

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office and officers with U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force found Martinez’s body.

The El Paso Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons unit is investigating the suspected murder-suicide.

Car Crash That Killed 7 People in El Paso Was Involved in Human Smuggling

Border marker at San Ysidro Port of Entry, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The car crash that killed seven people in downtown El Paso on Thursday was involved in human smuggling.

The car was fleeing Border Patrol agents when it crashed into a trailer at 2:15 a.m.

Among those killed were at least three undocumented immigrants who were being smuggled into the U.S. and four El Paso residents, including the 18-year-old driver The Daily Mail reports.

A Mexican man and two unidentified people also were killed.

Among the injured were Mexico native Omar Garcia Hernandez, 18, Guatemalan national Wilbur Gomez, 25, and an unnamed 16-year-old from Mexico.

“All preliminary information collected thus far indicates that it was indeed a human smuggling event,” Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Sector Gloria Chavez said in a statement.

A sensor alerted agents to the four-door sedan in Sunland Park, New Mexico, an area near the border that is know for human smuggling.

The driver fled by accelerating at a high rate of speed. Agents called off the chase because of the dangerous speed.

Soon after, the agents spotted the car, which had crashed into a trailer on private property.

“I cannot stress enough how Transnational Criminal Organizations continue to exploit human beings and manipulate the youth in our communities by recruiting them to be their mules and their smugglers,” Chavez said.

“Human smuggling is as lucrative as drug smuggling, if not more, and our youth are being targeted.”

First-Year Border Patrol Agent Found Dead While on Patrol in New Mexico

Border Patrol Agent Johan Jordan, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A rookie Border Patrol agent was found dead while patrolling a remote desert in southwestern New Mexico.

Johan Mordan, a 26-year agent working out of the Lordsburg Station, was found unresponsive on a trail after other agents lost contact with him in the desert of Bootheel of New Mexico, where he was on foot patrol, El Paso Times reports.

The agents tried to resuscitate him, but to no avail.

An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Border Patrol Agent Johan Mordan of El Paso Sector,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted.

“He served his country and community with honor. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and the entire Border Patrol community during this time.”

Prosecutors Clear Border Patrol Agents, Officers in Deadly Shooting in Las Cruces

Dashcam image via Las Cruces Police Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents, deputies and police officers will not be charged in connection with the shooting death of a suspect in the parking lot of a Las Cruces Home Depot, prosecutors told KRQE.

Investigators said the suspect, Francisco “Paco” Tarin, opened fire at a Las Cruces police officer who had responded to a June 17 call about a suspicious man threatening employees at a nearby Jack in the Box. While the officer drove himself to a hospital, a group of officers, deputies and border agents responded and found the suspect in the Home Deport parking lot.

After Tarin refused to surrender, he was shot with a non-lethe bean bag round. Tarin responded by shooting at the group of officers and agents, prompting them to return fire, killing the suspect.

The Officer-Involved Incident Task Force investigated the shooting and sent its findings to the district attorney’s office for review.

Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio cleared the law enforcement officers of wrongdoing.

Off-Duty FBI Agent Shoots, Kills Veterinarian in Albuquerque Brewery

Cody Wrathall, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty FBI agent shot and killed a gun-wielding Utah man inside an Albuquerque brewery Saturday night, witnesses told police.

When the shooting happened, police were en route to the bar after a woman had alerted 911 that her ex-boyfriend was stalking her and was at Nexus Brewery.

“The female’s ex-boyfriend or ex-husband showed up and brandished a firearm inside the bar,” officer Simon Drobik told the Albuquerque Journal. “The agent saw that and stopped his actions basically by shooting. The individual was transported to the hospital and is deceased.”

The FBI agent was not detained, and police are still investigating. The FBI’s Inspection division is assisting.

Police identified the alleged gunman as Cody Guy Wrathall, 43, a veterinarian for large animals in northern Utah.

Although Wrathall doesn’t have a criminal history in New Mexico, he was disciplined by Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing for overdosing on Valium and Ketamine that he took from a veterinary clinic.

“Respondent had attempted to treat himself for depression and anxiety with the Ketamine and Valium,” according to the disciplinary documents. “While Respondent has been diagnosed and treated for depression and anxiety, Respondent did not possess a valid prescription for the Ketamine or Valium. Respondent obtained the Ketamine and Valium from a former veterinary practice that was dissolved in 2017.”

New Mexico allows law enforcement to have guns inside a bar as long as they are following their department or agency’s rules. FBI rules allow agents to be in possession of a weapon inside a bar.

FBI: Militia That Stopped Migrants at Border Was Training to kill Obama, Clinton and Soros

Larry Mitchell Hopkins

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The leader of an armed, right-wing militia that was stopping migrants at the southern border was “training” his group to assassinate Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros, an FBI agent said in court papers.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, was arrested in New Mexico, where the United Constitutional Patriots is based, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The UCP boasted about detaining about 6,500 migrants in New Mexico in the past two months.

FBI Special Agent David S. Gabriel said in an affidavit that the FBI was alerted to Hopkins’ suspicious activities following reports in October 2017 of “alleged militia extremist activity,” the New York Times reports.

A month later, two FBI agents entered Hopkins’ home with his consent and found 10 firearms. Hopkins insisted the guns belonged to his common-law wife, Fay Sanders Murphy.

In the affidavit, the FBI said the UCP “were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama because of these individuals’ support of Antifa,” a left-wing activist group that has clashed, sometimes violently, with right-wing groups across the country. No more details were provided.

What remains unclear is why the FBI waited so long to arrest Hopkins after finding the guns. The FBI concluded at the time that the possession of weapons was illegal because Hopkins was a felon.

“My question is, why now?” Hopkins’ attorney, Kelly O’Connell, asked about the arrest.

Hopkins, who has a long rap sheet, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

O’Connell acknowledged he’s “not a militia specialist,” but said Hopkins and other members of the armed group “believe they are helping to enforce the laws of America on immigration.”