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Tag: Texas

Closing Arguments Set in Trial of Accused Border Patrol Agent-Turned-Serial Killer

Former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Juan David Ortiz

By Steve Neavling

Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday in the trial of former Border Patrol Agent Juan David Ortiz, who is accused of killing four women in Laredo, Texas, in September 2018. 

The murder trial of Juan David Ortiz began on Nov. 28. 

During the trial, prosecutors played a recording for jurors of Ortiz allegedly confessing. He said he wanted to “clean up the streets” of sex workers, whom he referred to as “trash” and “so dirty.”

One juror fainted when shown the autopsy photos.

The victims were Guiselda Alicia Hernandez, 34, Claudine Anne Luera, 42, Janelle Ortiz, 28, and Melissa Ramirez, 29. 

Ortiz found the women on the side of the road and killed them in rural parts of Webb County, prosecutors said.

Ortiz was arrested after a sex worker who suspected Ortiz had killer her friend was in a white pickup truck with the alleged killer when he pulled out a gun and grabbed her shirt. She managed to escape, and he fled.

The woman flagged down a state trooper, and after a pursuit, police found the 35-year-old hiding in a hotel parking lot at 2:30 a.m.

Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty but changed their minds after speaking to the victims’ families, who unanimously preferred that he spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Video Shows Border Patrol Agent Rescuing a Deer Stuck in a Fence

Border Patrol agent rescues a deer. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent rescued a young deer that was stuck in a metal fence at a ranch in rural south Texas. 

The agent discovered that the young buck’s antlers were stuck in the fence and took quick action. 

The rescue was captured on video and shared on social media this week. Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez of the Rio Grande Valley Sector retweeted the video. 

“Our #BorderPatrol Agents without hesitation will always respond!” Chavez wrote in the tweet featuring the video. “Even if it is Rudolph in need! Great Job #Falfurrias Station Agents who on patrol freed one of Santa’s helpers this morning near Falfurrias, Texas.”

Dozens of people commented on the tweet, commending the agent for saving the deer. 

“Well done!” Shannon Taggart tweeted. You all don’t get enough accolades for all you do!”

Dallas Varney tweeted, “They do more than protect our border.”

Ex-Border Patrol Agent Accused of Being a Serial Killer Set to Begin Trial

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Juan David

By Steve Neavling

The capital murder trial of a former supervisory Border Patrol agent who is accused of being a serial killer is set to begin with opening statements Monday. 

Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year veteran of the agency, was arrested in September 2018 after authorities say he confessed to killing four sex workers in the area around Laredo, Tex. 

The victims were Guiselda Alicia Hernandez, 34, Claudine Anne Luera, 42, Janelle Ortiz, 28, and Melissa Ramirez, 29. 

Ortiz found the women on the side of the road and killed them in rural parts of Webb County, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Ortiz said his motivation had been to “clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable.”

Ortiz was arrested after a sex worker who suspected Ortiz had killer her friend was in a white pickup truck with the alleged killer when he pulled out a gun and grabbed her shirt. She managed to escape, and he fled.

The woman flagged down a state trooper, and after a pursuit, police found the 35-year-old hiding in a hotel parking lot at 2:30 a.m.

Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty but changed their minds after speaking to the victims’ families, who unanimously preferred that he spend the rest of his life in prison. 

The trial is expected to take two weeks. 

CBP Wants Authority to Enforce State Law in Texas

Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officials are calling on Texas lawmakers to authorize its agents to enforce state law outside of official ports of entry. 

At a hearing for the Texas Senate Committee on Border Security, Chief Carl Landrum and Assistant Chief Col. Max Lopez, both of the Laredo sector of U.S. Border Patrol, asked the Legislature to change the state’s code of criminal procedures, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

More than 15 other federal agencies have authority to enforce state law beyond official ports of entry if they suspect a person has committed a felony. 

“Right now, we are in a situation that is overwhelming,” Landrum told state lawmakers Tuesday. “The men and women that are down there, doing the job, providing the border security that is necessary for this country and for the state of Texas, are doing everything they can possibly do. And we identified an opportunity where we could make an amendment … that would actually help us.”

Under the current state law, CBP is only able to detain someone at official ports of entry or permanent border patrol traffic checkpoints. 

“This limits us greatly to these designated locations — these enclaves where most of the manpower is not located at,” Landrum said.

Ray Provencio Takes Over As CBP’s El Paso Port Director

Ray Provencio, director of CBP’s El Paso Port

By Steve Neavling

CBP’s El Paso Port has a new leader. 

Ray Provencio, an El Paso native, was sworn in as port director on Tuesday.

He’s the first El Paso native to serve in the position. 

“I am honored and humbled to be the Port Director of El Paso and look forward to leading the men and women of CBP assigned to this facility,” Provencio said. “The port of El Paso is vitally important to the overall economic security of El Paso and the region,” Provencio said. “I will strive to make certain that CBP remains a positive contributor to our community and I pledge to expand our working relationship with stakeholders, while protecting the community, public and country from those that wish them harm.”

Provencio is in charge of operations and enforcement activities at the Bridge of Americas, Paso Del Norte crossing, the Stanton Street SENTRI lanes, and two rail crossing. He also is in charge of operations at the El Paso international airport. 

Provencio’s career with U.S. Customs Service began in 1998. 

At CBP and U.S. Customs Service, Provencio served in several high-level positions. 

Before his most recent appointment, Provencio served as deputy field director of field operations in El Paso. 

Provencio is a native of Southwest Texas and the Southern New Mexico region. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso, graduated from the CBP Command Leadership Academy in 2010 and is a 2018 graduate of the CBP Leadership Institute. 

He is married with three children. 

Border Patrol Agents Acted in Self-Defense When They Fatally Shot Man in Custody, FBI Said

By Steve Neavling

An FBI investigation found that Border Patrol agents acted in self-defense when they killed a Mexican citizen after he advanced toward them with “an edged weapon” in the processing area of the agency’s El Paso station on Tuesday.

The bureau said Thursday that Manuel Gonzalez-Moran, a 33-year-old with a criminal history, was initially detained by agents while holding a metal pipe, The Washington Examiner reports.

Agents took him into custody and discovered that he was deported to Mexico five months ago after serving 11 years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon. 

At the station, Gonzalez-Moran “charged out of a holding cell” and “grabbed an edged weapon off a desk in the processing area,” the FBI said. 

“Agents provided verbal commands and attempted to gain control by utilizing non-deadly force methods, specifically taser, which was unsuccessful,” the FBI statement continued. “Agents continued providing verbal commands, however, Moran continued to advance upon them with the edged weapon at which time he was shot by Agents.”

Agents shot Gonzalez-Moran twice. He was pronounced dead at the Del Sol Hospital. 

Gloria Chavez Says Goodbye to Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector

Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez

By Steve Neavling

Gloria Chavez served her final day as chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector on Friday. 

Chavez, a 27-year veteran of the agency and the only female chief of the agency’s 22 sectors, is taking over as the chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector on Oct. 9.

The Brownsville-area native began serving as interim chief of the El Paso Sector in July 2019. She took over as the permanent chief in March 2020. 

Chavez previously served as chief of both California’s El Centro Sector and Washington’s Spokane Sector. 

At the Rio Grande Valley Sector, she will oversee nine stations, including 277 river miles and 316 coastal miles. The sector spans 34 counties. 

Border Patrol Horse Dies in Line of Duty

Border Patrol horse Jayce. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol horse died in the line of duty following an accident involving a power line in Texas, the agency’s Del Rio Sector announced Wednesday. 

Jayce was on patrol near Carrizo Springs when he “accidentally came in contact with a downed power line,” the sector said on Facebook. 

The rider was not injured. 

Jayce was an 11-year veteran of the Border Patrol.