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07/05/2012

South Texas father and son arrested, charged with HSI special agent shooting

MCALLEN, Texas - Two south Texas men, father and son, were arrested and charged Thursday with assaulting a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

Pedro Alvarado, 41, and Arnoldo Alvarado, 18, from Hargill, Texas, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Orsmby July 5. Both are charged with assaulting a federal officer by knowingly using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

"The announcement of these arrests related to the shooting of our HSI special agent is a testament to the close cooperation among our law enforcement partners," said ICE Director John Morton. "We are encouraged by this action to bring these criminals to justice. We continue to keep the special agent and his family in our prayers during his recovery."

According to court documents, on July 3, HSI special agents were conducting surveillance in anticipation of a narcotic transaction believed to be occurring near Hargill. While parked in his official vehicle near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 493 and Cemetery Road, an HSI special agent was allegedly approached by another vehicle from which shots were fired. When the special agent proceeded north, the second vehicle pursued him and continued shooting. The special agent then lost control of his vehicle, at which time additional special agents arrived and discovered the special agent had been shot once in the back. ?HSI special agents then conducted a consent search at a residence in Hargill and encountered Pedro Alvarado and his son, Arnoldo Alvarado. Both were then taken into federal custody for further questioning. A third person, a minor, was also identified in relation to the crime and turned over to state authorities.

The penalty range for assault on a federal officer is up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000, upon conviction. The Alvarados also face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine, for using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; this prison term must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

The case is being investigated by HSI, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers, the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.