Cartel-Connected Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder of Border Patrol Agent
A three-time deported illegal alien with alleged ties to a Mexican cartel pleaded guilty in a New Mexico court on Monday to charges related to the attempted murder of a Border Patrol agent in 2017. The court dismissed aggravated battery and assault charges as part of a plea agreement. The court also dismissed a second criminal case against the man.
Sergio Ivan Venegas-Quiñonez, a 35-year-old Mexican national, pleaded guilty in the New Mexico 3rd Judicial District Court before Judge Doug Diggers, for attempting to murder Border Patrol Agent Lorenzo Hernandez, the Las Cruces Sun Newsreported. Breitbart News Border/Cartel Chronicles Director Brandon Darby first broke the news of the kidnapping and assault of Agent Hernandez in June 2017:
A leaked official document from the El Paso Sector Intelligence and Operations Center reveals that the injured off-duty Border Patrol agent who was discovered on the side of a roadway on June 9, 2017, is believed to have been kidnapped prior to sustaining severe injuries to his “head, chest, and hands.” Breitbart Texas exclusively obtained the document from a trusted source operating under the umbrella of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The document does specifically identify that a Border Patrol agent was kidnapped and assaulted. The document also asserts that the FBI in El Paso, Texas, is leading the investigation. The document also warns law enforcement agents. It asserts, “Agents are advised to remain vigilant and maintain a heightened level of awareness.”
CBP officials at the time reported that Agent Hernandez was found on the side of a road by a motorist. He suffered “multiple, serious injuries to his head, chest, and hands.” The FBI took over the investigation; however, attempted murder charges were filed in the New Mexico court system.
Officials later named Venegas-Quiñonez as one of the suspects in the case. Sources within CBP told Breitbart News that the suspects allegedly has connections with the Juarez Cartel, or its enforcement arm, “La Linea.”
The Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department arrested Venegas-Quiñonez and a co-defendant a few days later, Breitbart News reported.
The Sun Times reported that New Mexico 3rd District Attorney’s Office prosecutor Daniel Sewell told the court that Hernandez was helping his mother sell tamales at a stand in northeast El Paso when Venegas-Quiñonez and another man approached. The two men asked Hernandez to take them to get some gas. Hernandez obliged their request and Venegas-Quiñonez pulled a handgun. The second man, alleged to be 33-year-old Fernando Puga, pulled a machete.
The duo forced Hernandez to drive to a location 40 miles away — a spot near the Rio Grande River northwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico. In fear of his life, Hernandez attacked Venegas-Quiñonez and knocked the gun from his hand. At that point, Puga allegedly struck Hernandez with the machete while he fought with Venegas-Quiñonez. He allegedly hacked Hernandez multiple times with the machete leaving him “bleeding a great deal.”
“He had two fingers partially amputated,” the prosecutor said. “Mr. Hernandez has had multiple surgeries to repair torn tendons.”
The partially amputated fingers were successfully reattached, Sewell continued. The agent remains employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as a Border Patrol agent.
Under New Mexico sentencing guidelines, Venegas-Quiñonez faces up to nine years in state prison for the second-degree felony conviction of attempted murder. Prosecutor Sewell is recommending a sentence of seven years, the local newspaper reported. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 2, 2019.
Puga is expected to stand trial before a jury in the 3rd Judicial District court on April 15. He initially pleaded not guilty, but the newspaper reported he could change his plea before the trial begins. Court records obtained by Breitbart News reveal that Puga faces charges of Attempted First Degree Murder, aggravated battery, and aggravated assault. Records also indicate the suspect as an assigned probation officer.
In December 2016, Puga pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property in another New Mexico court, records revealed. Prosecutors dismissed a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as part of the plea bargain. The court sentenced him to 228 days of probation.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.