A Mexican citizen who repeatedly smuggled undocumented immigrants was convicted Friday of assaulting a U.S. Border Patrol agent, by hurling a softball-sized rock at him.
Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28 in federal court. Jurors deliberated for about eight hours before finding Valencia guilty of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and three counts of bringing in an alien for financial gain.
“We are grateful for the resolve and collaboration that our law enforcement partners have demonstrated over the past several months, resulting in Valencia’s arrest, his prosecution and conviction,” said San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow.
“We look forward to a just sentencing that will keep him off our streets for a significant period of time, and will keep our communities safe from this violent criminal.”
On Nov. 15, 2015, after completing a 33-month sentence for a prior alien smuggling conviction, Valencia re-entered the United States guiding a group of 15 undocumented immigrants.
This occurred less than two months after his deportation to Mexico.
When the trip through the mountains in rough terrain and inclement weather was interrupted by agents, Valencia threw a softball-sized rock from 30 feet away that struck an agent on the side of the face.
According to court records and trial testimony, the agent who was assaulted said he had never been hit that hard in his life, and he felt an overwhelming pain that caused him to feel dazed and disoriented, as if he was going to pass out.
The rock hit the agent so hard that he thought his teeth were knocked out or his jaw was broken.
— City News Service