op-ed

Unraveling The Mystery Of How A Border Patrol Agent Died In West Texas

USA Mexico border Getty Images/David McNew

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Many years ago, a Border Patrol agent reported that “Chinese”-looking soldiers with armored personnel carriers flowed across the Mexican border a few miles east of San Diego. They fired “hundreds” of rounds at him while he hid among rocks, he said.

Dozens of police and federal agents scoured the area looking for evidence, for footprints, for brass of expended rifle bullets or for tracks of armored personnel carriers. They found nothing.

Another Border Patrol agent convinced a United States Attorney to file criminal assault on a federal officer charges against a suspected illegal alien 14-year-old boy he chased down in a San Diego residential area near the Mexican border. With the agent in pursuit, the boy climbed a fence and before he could get over it, he accidently kicked the agent in the face.

The 104-pound boy was charged with assaulting a 230-pound armed federal agent. The boy was arraigned in federal court without an attorney. Courtroom observers burst into laughter when the agent was pointed out by an assistant U.S. Attorney. A smirking judge released the boy to his legally-resident uncle. The judge also suggested that justice might be better served if charges were dropped. They were.

Back to the “Chinese” invaders: The agent swore he was telling the truth. Experienced border hands laughed out loud. In those days — it was prior to September 11, 2001 — there was no border patrol union. Thus the agent was on his own. Today would be different.

The decade-plus-old National Border Patrol Council union virtually always supports anything its members claim. Always. The council challenges officialdom or lack of statements on issues and events — anything to support dues-paying members.

On November 20, President Donald Trump tweeted that a border patrol officer had been attacked and badly hurt. He then urged support for a border wall.

The tweet was about the death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez in the West Texas desert a hundred miles from El Paso. His partner Stephen Garland was found unconscious and has no “memory” of what happened.

Really.

Despite numerous federal, state and local investigators plus the media, Garland — only — knows what happened November 19.

The New York Times: “The Culberson County Sheriff, Oscar Carrillo, who is helping with the investigation…told The Dallas Morning News that…If this was an assault, believe me, as sheriff, I’d be the first one out there emphasizing safety in our community and with our deputies, pairing them up,’ he told the newspaper. ‘But from what I know and see, that was not the case here.”

“Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the (Council), went as far as to call Sheriff Carrillo a ‘dingbat’ on his weekly (Council) podcast.”

Despite Sheriff Carrillo probably having more experience than the collective National Border Patrol Council leadership, that “leadership” fiercely insists that the two agents were attacked.

This border patrol union consistently shouts that contracts to assassinate border agents have been issued by Mexican drug cartels. One bullet once hit a border patrol vehicle, but it hit several feet away from the driver.

In at least on case, drug cartels have hired American mercenaries from our military as “pistoleros” to handle such chores. They are usually employed to kill cartel people, not federal agents. The shooting of a patrol vehicle has been offered as proof the “contract” rumor is untrue.

But if it were true, that agent would not be alive.

The border patrol union also frequently cites the number of “assaults” on agents. Traditionally, border patrol officers have defined an “incident” as anything involving an agent being yelled at, rocks thrown at them, being shot at, or being physically attacked. Claims of spikes in “assaults” are hyperbole.

If a dozen Mexicans boys threw rocks across the border fence at an agent’s vehicle, that “incident” was counted as ten assaults even if the rocks didn’t hit anything which they usually don’t.

The current annual “Use of Force” statistics from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) expose union’s fallacies of what they claim is an all-out war on Border Patrol agents.

In 2017, of the millions of contacts by border patrol agents on the Mexican and Canadian borders, there were a total of 75 “use of force” incidents of which one (1) was with a firearm; 13 against Border Patrol vehicles. To clarify, rocks thrown at vehicles are “use of force.” Notice but a single “use of force” by a firearm on over 4,000 miles of border and from well over a million contacts by agents.

Weeks after the death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, his partner — the one with total memory loss — says he has no idea what happened the night of November 19 in the West Texas desert.

The border patrol union insists the agents were attacked — assaulted. The local sheriff thinks an accident of some sort occurred. FBI investigators working the case around the clock have no idea what happened.

Obviously, something happened. Will we ever know what?

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy,” (Berkeley Press 2017); “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade,” (Floricanto Press 2016). He formerly wrote for the New American New Service of the New York Times.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.