AUGUST 10, 2007
A previously deported Mexican gang member known for smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants into the United States was shot after assaulting a Border Patrol agent and Mexicoâ??s government is angrily demanding a full investigation for what it calls excessive force against immigrants.
Could the unidentified federal officer, who feared for his life during the nighttime attack, be the next to get prosecuted for doing his job?
The 23-year-old Mexican man (Jose Castillo) has a lengthy record in his native Juarez for drug-trafficking and human smuggling and has been caught crossing the U.S. border illegally nearly 30 times. In 2004 he was actually deported from the U.S. yet continued disregarding the law by making the repeated jaunts north.
This week Ortiz tried to smuggle three illegal immigrants into the U.S. through Texas but was intercepted at around 10 p.m. by a Border Patrol agent who spotted him and his human cargo sneaking through a hole in a fence east of downtown El Paso.
Armed with bolt cutters and rocks, Ortiz assaulted the federal agent as he tried to apprehend two others in the group. It was dark and the officer felt threatened by the assailant who attacked him with rocks and the bolt cutters. He shot the illegal immigrant smuggler several times and the man later died.
Mexican government officials immediately attacked the incident and ordered an investigation for what they believe was excessive force against their nationals. In a statement, the countryâ??s foreign relations minister demanded all the weight of the law be brought to bear against the person responsible.
The incident, which marks the fifth fatal shooting involving a Border Patrol agent this year, proves what agency officials have been saying for monthsâ??that violent assaults on officers are on the rise and the frequency of attacks has increased dramatically.
This is partly because drug smuggling from Mexico has doubled and human smuggling has increased drastically. More illegal immigrants have weapons, throw big rocks and even Molotov cocktailsâ??makeshift bombs made of a breakable container filled with flammable liquid.
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