A Border Patrol agent near the border fence in San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

Two Central American nationals were charged in federal court in San Diego Friday with entering the United States illegally and assaulting Border Patrol personnel.

The first of the two separate incidents, which occurred within 90 minutes of each other, began about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, when Agent C. Nelson encountered a group of five suspicious people while patrolling in the southwestern reaches of San Diego, according to prosecutors.

Nelson directed the subjects not to move, but one of them was uncooperative, prompting the agent to begin detaining the man.

As Nelson tried to handcuff the suspect, later identified as Honduran citizen Frazy Jiron, the detainee said something “that caused the rest of the group to begin to stand up,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.

During an ensuing struggle, Jiron allegedly elbowed Nelson, and both fell to the ground and tumbled down a hill as the suspect’s companions bolted.

Following his arrest, Jiron admitted to being a foreign national with no legal right to be in the United States, according to prosecutors.

About an hour after Nelson’s encounter with Jiron, another federal agent had a violent run-in with a suspected undocumented immigrant in the San Diego area, authorities said.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Cox was conducting routine patrol duties out of the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station when he saw someone running toward him, according to court documents.

Ignoring Cox’s order to stop, the man — later identified as Franklin Ariel Rochac Garcia of El Salvador — approached Cox and allegedly took a swing at him. Cox was able to avoid the blow and grab Rochac’s shirt sleeve, after which both men fell to the ground.

Rochac then broke free, got up and ran off to the south toward the international border. Cox gave chase and was able to grab a hold of Rochac again as the suspect tried to jump over the border fence.

Like Jiron, Rochac allegedly admitted to being in the United States legally.

Preventing assaults on federal officers “is one of the Department of Justice’s top priorities,” San Diego-area U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman noted.

“Our office is committed to vigorously prosecuting these cases,” Braverman said.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.