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CBP

Immigrant charged with trying to steal Border Patrol agent’s gun, assaulting him

Border Patrol agents transfer migrants apprehended on the Tohono O'odham Nation for transport to a facility in nearby Tucson, Ariz. Located on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, the sprawling and sparsely populated reservation covers more than 2.8 million square miles and has long been a popular entryway for smugglers trafficking people and drugs into the U.S. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A man from Honduras faces assault charges in Brownsville after an altercation with a Border Patrol agent attempting to apprehend him on suspicion of entering the country without documents resulted in the two fighting for control of the agent’s weapon knee-deep in a resaca.

The criminal complaint filed against Henry Benitez-Cruz in federal court on Wednesday charged him with assaulting, resisting, or impeding a federal officer in an incident that took place around 7:45 a.m. the same day, according to the document.

An affidavit completed by an FBI Task Force Officer stated that Border Patrol agents encountered Benitez near Brownsville. He fled, allegedly ignoring commands in the Spanish language to stop before agent Mario Gonzalez grabbed Benitez by his shirt collar in an attempt to arrest him, according to the document.

An altercation ensued in which Benitez struggled and struck Gonzalez with his fists and forearms. “Agent Gonzalez and Benitez wrestled and fell knee deep into a resaca, where Agent Gonzalez continued to attempt to gain control of Benitez,” the complaint stated.

According to the affidavit, Benitez grabbed Gonzalez’s firearm’s grip and pulled forcibly on it several times in an upward motion in an attempt to free it from its holster. The document stated that Gonzalez attempted to protect his weapon and alerted agents in the area of the struggle by shouting, “He’s going for my gun!”

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“Agent Gonzalez maintained a grip on Benitez with his left hand and managed to free Benitez’s grip from his firearm with his right hand. Benitez then struck Agent Gonzalez in the face with his forearm.”

The document described a second attempt by Benitez to draw the agent’s firearm. According to the affidavit, Gonzalez was then able to drag Benitez nearer to the bank and throw him to the ground and attempted to handcuff him. The man continued to resist and attempt to flee, according to the complaint.

A second agent named Spellane arrived. The two “wrestled with the subject” and were able to place one handcuff on Benitez but were unable to subdue him until a third officer, Agent Martinez, arrived to assist.

According to the complaint, the man resisted so forcibly that agents placed handcuffs on him in front instead of behind his back. Spellane put his body weight on top the man as they lay on the bank of the resaca “until Benitez calmed down enough to be escorted to a transport vehicle”, the document stated.

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© 2020 The Brownsville Herald