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March 5, 2020Laredo, TX, United StatesOperational

2 Texas men facing federal charges after violently attacking a federal officer

LAREDO, Texas — Two men from Irving, Texas were charged Thursday for their role in forcibly assaulting a federal officer.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, Southern District of Texas, announced the charges. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations.

A Laredo grand jury returned the indictment Feb. 25, 2020 against Juan Alfredo Crisencio Martinez, 20, and Jaythan Trevonne Phillips, 20, both from Irving, Texas. Both men went before U.S. District Judge Diana Song Quiroga who charged them with forcible assault.

According to the indictment, the assault took place Feb. 8, 2020. The incident began after they applied for admission into the United States at the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge in Laredo. A CBP officer allegedly began to conduct an immigration inspection and asked them to exit the vehicle. They refused, according to the allegations.

The charges allege authorities swarmed the lane to apprehend the occupants. At that time, Martinez allegedly reached for the officer’s belt from inside the vehicle. He also opened the driver’s side door in order to prevent a responding officer from assisting, according to the allegations.

Law enforcement allegedly had to physically carry Phillips to the secondary inspection area.

Martinez continued to resist, according to the allegations. Law enforcement allegedly had to deploy a Taser in order to subdue him.

The charges allege the incident significantly impacted the port’s daily operation, because officers from passenger booths, secondary inspection and bus operations had to assist. Most of the travel lanes were closed until they could resolve the incident, according to the allegations. The bus traffic was allegedly backed up into the Mexico side of the bridge which caused stalls and ultimately delayed dozens of passengers.

If convicted, Martinez and Phillips face up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yoona Lin, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.