Border Patrol agent’s death may have been accident
Investigators are now saying the death of a US Border Patrol agent may have simply been an accident — as union officials and politicians claim the victims were attacked by illegal border-crossers.
Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, died Sunday from injuries he suffered while working Saturday night. His partner, who has not been named, is in the hospital with critical injuries, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Martinez went to check a border sensor that had gone off near Interstate 10 in Van Horn, Texas. He radioed colleagues to say humans caused the blip, and then called for backup. His partner found him unconscious, so he called for more help. When fellow agents arrived, both men were knocked out.
Reps for the National Border Patrol Council labor union claimed drug traffickers stoned the men.
“We have FBI and Border Patrol agents on the ground telling us that agents were in an area notorious for drug traffickers,” said union vice president Art Del Cueto. “All the evidence that they see leads us to believe that’s what it was.”
The narrative caught President Trump’s attention, and he tweeted about the story Monday, arguing it further justifies his plan to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.
“Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!” he posted Saturday.
But local law enforcement say the injuries look like the men fell into a culvert on the moonless night.
“The injuries to [Martinez], after talking to his doctors, were consistent with a fall. Very consistent with a fall,” Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told the Dallas Morning News. “Why is the other guy hurt? That’s the unknown. What happened to him?”
The number of illegal border crossings has declined sharply over the last decade, and injuries are rare for agents.
Of the US Border Patrol’s 20,000 agents, 38 have died in the line of duty since 2003, according to agency tallies.
“It’s super rare for agents to be attacked and killed,” said Jeremy Slack, a migration expert and professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, told the Morning News.
With Post wires