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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

2-time alien smuggler sentenced to more than 8 years for assaulting a Border Patrol agent

LAREDO, Texas – A Mexican citizen, who had been living in Laredo, was sentenced Wednesday to more than eight years in federal prison for assaulting an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the FBI, with the assistance of CBP, Laredo Police Department, and the Webb County Sheriff’s Department.

Jose Alberto Izquierdo-Gonzalez, 28, appeared before Senior U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen who sentenced him to 98 months in federal prison.

In handing down the sentence, Kazen noted the defendant’s prior convictions for alien transporting in 2009, entering illegally in the same year, as well as damages to a CBP Border Patrol unit he rammed while trying to elude apprehension.

When asked why he had behaved so recklessly, Izquierdo-Gonzalez stated he had gotten scared and panicked because he didn’t want to go to jail. Kazen countered by reminding him that he had assaulted Border Patrol agents in 2008 and stated to the defendant that he "must have a bad reaction to these arrests...some people are just like that." He then told Izquierdo-Gonzalez that he now takes "the big prize" by "smashing vehicles...having persons flopping around in the back of the truck," and hitting agents. Izquierdo-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the charges March 28.

According to court records, Border Patrol agents stated they witnessed Izquierdo-Gonzalez loading individuals onto his Ford F-250 truck Jan. 8, 2013, near the Rancho Viejo Subdivision in Laredo. Upon seeing the agents, Izquierdo-Gonzalez sped away from the riverbanks with aliens in the cab and some in the bed of the truck. One alien who hung onto the truck’s rear bumper was dragged for some distance. After a short pursuit through a residential area involving the truck traveling on residential sidewalks and knocking down a stop sign, he eventually lost control and stopped, facing the agents’ vehicles.

With individuals still in the bed of the pickup truck, Izquierdo rammed the Border Patrol vehicles, injuring one of the agents. He then sped away until he lost control again, and crashed into a nearby ditch. Those in the bed managed to remain in the truck, but were treated for injuries at a local hospital. The agents apprehended Izquierdo-Gonzalez almost immediately after he abandoned his truck and his passengers. Two passengers were identified as aliens illegally in the United States who said they had paid smugglers to get a ride from Izquierdo-Gonzalez.

Izquierdo-Gonzalez maintained not knowing there were persons in the bed of his truck, claiming he was giving a ride to his girlfriend, an illegal alien who had just crossed from Mexico and one other person whom he had just picked up.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.