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Tag: Nogales

HSI Returns Nearly 300 Pre-Columbia Artifacts to Mexican Officials

One of the recovered artifacts. Photo courtesy of Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Investigations returned nearly 300 pre-Columbia artifacts to Mexican officials this week during a repatriation ceremony at the Mexican Consulate in Nogales. 

The 277 pieces included arrow heads, axe heads, hammer heads, spear heads and small stone carvings that were between 1,000 and 5,000 years old and “of significant cultural value,” HSI said in a news release.

The repatriation follows two separate HSI investigations by special agents in Phoenix and Nogales. 

Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix, presented the relics to Ricardo Santana, Mexican consul general ambassador in Nogales, and Jose Luis Perea, director of the Mexican Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) in Sonora.

“The cultural significance of artifacts from regions around the world extends beyond any monetary value,” Brown said. “The pieces, like those discovered, are fragments of history; and it is an honor to return them to their rightful home country. HSI fully supports the importance of antiquities and cultural property, and it is through these repatriations that new generations are able to experience a part of their nation’s story.”

Perara said the timing was culturaly significant. 

“This repatriation comes at an opportune time, in the year of a very significant commemoration for Mexico – the 500th anniversary of the taking of Tenochtitlan, which was a heartrending encounter between the cultural universes of Western Europe and America,” Perea said. “This event allows us to deeply recognize the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico, as well as the resistance and presence of its contemporary indigenous peoples.”

HSI conducts investigations for the Department of Homeland Security. Among its roles is investigating thefts of cultural property. 

Ex-CBP Officer Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Bribery

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A former CBP officer from Nogales has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to bribery. 

Jose Rosalio Fuentes, 58, was a CBP officer assigned to canine duty at the Nogales Port of entry in early 2018 when he allowed an undocumented immigrant into the U.S. in exchange for a $6,000 cash bribe. 

Fuentes, who knew the migrant was a convicted felon, allowed the man to enter the U.S. through the Nogales Port of Entry during his shift. A surveillance camera captured Fuentes pretending to swipe the migrant’s ID card at the port of entry before allowing him to pass through the pedestrian gate. 

Fuentes also was sentenced last week to three years of probation and a $6,000 fine. 

The investigation was led by Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, which includes members from the FBI, the Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Custom Enforcement-Office of Professional Responsibility, CBP-Office of Professional Responsibility, Tucson Police Department, and the DEA. 

The Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. 

Border Patrol Agent Repeatedly Stabbed, Then Fatally Shoots Suspect Near Nogales

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was repeatedly stabbed Monday night while trying to arrest what appeared to be a group of undocumented immigrants near Nogales, Ariz.

The agent, who is in his 30s, shot and killed the suspect, CBP leaders said.

The unnamed agent, who was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson in unknown condition, was patrolling on foot about 25 miles east of Nogales along the U.S.-Mexico border when he discovered the group and tried to apprehend them at about 7 p.m.

The FBI is investigating.

“I hope he wasn’t alone,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada told The Tucson Sentinel. “That’s remote, dangerous territory.”

Homeland Security Discovers Long Tunnel Used to Smuggle Drugs in Nogales

Tunnel entrance, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Investigations special agents found an 82-foot-long tunnel that has been used for a few months to smuggle drugs near Nogales, Ariz.

Agents on the Border Enforcement Security Task Force were executing a search warrant when they discovered the tunnel, according to KOUN9-TV.

The tunnel, which was 8-feet-deep and had a ventilation system, led from a house in Nogales to a wastewater pipeline in Rio Rico, Ariz.

The tunnel appeared to have been used by Mexican nationals, two of whom were arrested on charges of possession and conspiracy to distribute hard narcotics.

Agents seized 200 pounds of meth, more than 6.5 pounds of fentanyl, nearly two pounds of heroin, and nearly three pounds of cocaine.

 

Border Patrol Agent Who Intentionally Hit Migrant with Truck Sentenced to Probation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who intentionally struck a Guatemalan migrant with his truck in 2017 – and called immigrants “subhuman” – was sentenced to three years of probation and supervised release.

Matthew Bowen, a 39-year-old agent stationed in Nogales, had faced up to one year in prison after admitting in August that he intentionally struck a 23-year-old migrant while arresting him for illegally crossing the border.

“I want you to remember this,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro told Bowen during the federal sentencing hearing in Tucson, The Phoenix New Times reports. “I can’t ignore the seriousness of this offense. Nationally, people are complaining about ICE and Border Patrol and the job that they do. Your conduct reinforces their stereotypes, and makes it much more difficult for your colleagues to preform their duties. It only takes one incident like this to really undermine things.”

Bowen also has come under fire after text messages surfaced showing he called immigrants “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages.”

Bowen, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was placed on unpaid suspension in June 2018, shortly after he was indicted on assault charges. As part of a plea agree, Bowen resigned.

A video of the incident showed Bowen “accelerating aggressively” and striking Antolin Lopez Aguilar twice with the front of his truck. Bowen then arrested Lopez.

Bowen’s attorney, Sean Chapman, denied his client was racist, despite the evidence against him.

“There have been claims in the media that Mr. Bowen made racist comments about the immigrant community, and it’s simply not true,” Chapman said.

Border Patrol Agent Admits He ‘Intentionally Struck’ Migrant with Truck

Stock photo of a Border Patrol truck, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who intentionally struck a Guatemalan migrant with his truck in 2017 – and called immigrants “subhuman” – has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor civil rights charge.

Matthew Bowen, a 39-year-old agent stationed in Nogales, faces up to one year in prison after admitting he intentionally struck the 23-year-old migrant while arresting him for illegally crossing the border.

Bowen also has come under fire after text messages surfaced showing he called immigrants “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages.”

Bowen, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was placed on unpaid suspension in June 2018, shortly after he was indicted on assault charges. As part of a plea agree, Bowen will resign.

A video of the incident showed Bowen “accelerating aggressively” and striking Antolin Lopez Aguilar twice with the front of his truck. Bowen then arrested Lopez.

“During my apprehension of (Antonin Lopez Aguilar), I intentionally struck him with an unreasonable amount of force,” Bowen said, according to documents obtained by The Arizona Republic. “My actions when I struck A.L.-A. were not justified and violated his rights protected by the Constitution of the United States.”

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Assault Called Migrants ‘Subhuman,’ ‘Unworthy of Kindling for a Fire’

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent accused of striking a Guatemalan man with his government-issued vehicle in December 2017 and then lying about it blasted migrants as “disgusting subhuman shit unworthy of kindling for a fire,” new court documents allege.

Prosectors are trying to show that the text messages from Agent Matthew Bowen, 39, show his “great disdain” for migrants, The Arizona Republic reports.

Bowen, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, also texted, “PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!”

In another text message to Agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, who was acquitted of manslaughter charges last year after shooting through a border fence in Nogales in 2012, Bowen called rock throwers “mindless murdering savages.”

Bowen was indicted by a grand jury in May 2018, accused of depriving the Guatemalan man of his civil rights and falsifying records.

Bowen’s attorney Sean Chapman is trying to prevent a jury from seeing the texts. If the judge permits the jury to see the texts, Chapman wrote that he’d argue that such language is “commonplace throughout the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency’s culture, and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen’s mind-set.”

Ex-DEA Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Selling Guns to Suspected Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former supervisory special agent for the DEA in Nogales, Ariz., faces up to five years in prison for illegally selling firearms, including to suspected drug traffickers.

Joseph Gill pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally selling firearms, including two rifles to men “he had reason to believe intended to use or dispose of the firearms unlawfully, Tucson News Now reports.

Gill, who sold the guns without a Federal Firearms License, is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 26.

According to the Justice Department, Gill purchased firearms from licensed dealers and sold them online.

Investigators said Gill sold two Colt rifles in June 2016 to suspected drug dealers, according to an ATF investigation. Authorities said one rifle was smuggled into Mexico and another was seized at a port of authority.

Gill resigned from the DEA on June 30.