FBI zeroes in on suspects in Border Patrol agent death

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - Federal search warrants unsealed over the weekend indicate that the FBI is zeroing in on two suspects in the beating death of Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez and the assault of a second agent near Van Horn in late November.

According to the warrants, an informant came to federal agents with information that two brothers may be involved. KTSM is not identifying those brothers because they have not been charged. For identifying purposes, we are identifying them as Suspect 1 and Suspect 2.

The informant said a "coyote" who had recently smuggled illegal immigrants across the border advised that some of the immigrants within the group had spoken of assaulting the agents.

A second person, reportedly familiar with the brothers, identified the two men in the group by name to the informant. That person said the brothers assaulted the agents with rocks during the attack.

Court records show that Martinez suffered wounds to his head and body resulting in significant blood loss. The second agent also suffered serious head injuries. KTSM has learned the name of the second agent but is withholding it as part of the ongoing investigation.

Investigators were told that one of the brothers, Suspect 1, could be found in Portales, New Mexico and Suspect 2 was in Odessa, Texas.

The paperwork shows several interviews were conducted and agents learned that a third brother and an American woman admitted to driving to Presidio, Texas to pick up Suspect 1 the day after the attack.

According to the documents, the trio took turns driving back to Portales but made sure the woman was behind the wheel when they crossed the Marfa Border Patrol checkpoint. Investigators were told the 2004 Pontiac Grand Am the three were traveling in broke down in Tatum, New Mexico, near Portales. The Suspect 1's brother told agents he went to retrieve the car the next day.

During an interview, Suspect 1 allegedly admitted to crossing the border illegally into the U.S "sometime before November 20." The woman told the FBI she heard Suspect 1 speaking on the phone about crossing into the U.S. with a load of methamphetamine and heroin. 

A federal judge in Albuquerque signed a search warrant for the Grand Am on December 2. Court documents show agents collected vacuum samples, removed fabric with red stains from a seat, and retrieved a pair of "dark-colored athletic pants with unknown stains" as well as a pair of blue jeans from the trunk.

The warrant shows that investigators believe the people responsible for the attack would have been in close proximity to the agents and would have possibly gotten blood or other bodily fluids transferred onto their clothing or body during the assault. 

Suspect 2, suspected of taking part in the attack, was not mentioned in the warrant. He is believed to be in Odessa and it is unclear if he has been taken into federal custody.

Jail records show Suspect 1 was taken into federal custody on November 28 in Roswell on charges of Illegal Re-entry. He is charged with entering the U.S. after previously being deported in 2015. 

Court records indicate that, at this time, no one has been charged with any crime connected to the assault on the agents.

KTSM is working closely with our sister station KRQE in Albuquerque on this developing story.


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