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08/26/2014

North Carolina man pleads guilty for impeding Border Patrol agent at Laredo checkpoint

LAREDO, Texas — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of impeding U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol agents by refusing to comply with instructions when he arrived just north of the Laredo checkpoint.

Joe Adam Vega, 25, of Greenville, North Carolina, entered a guilty plea for impeding agents at the checkpoint.  According to court records and statements made during Wednesday’s court proceeding, Vega arrived at the checkpoint July 29. Agents directed Vega to move away from the primary inspection lane and drive to the secondary inspection area after a canine alerted to the presence of drugs or hidden persons in the vehicle's trunk. He refused to comply.

Vega was ordered to move several times by the agent and a supervising agent. He continued to refuse, stating that he wanted to go on his way without permitting the additional inspections. Agents warned him that he would be arrested for impeding federal officers if he did not move as directed. He again insisted that he wanted to drive away without inspection.

Vega’s passenger locked the driver's door and attempted to roll up the car's windows. Agents forcibly removed both occupants from the vehicle and arrested them.

Sentencing has been set for Dec. 3, 2014, at which time Vega faces up to a year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Raul Guerra, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.