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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder of a Federal Officer Following HSI El Paso Investigation

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder of a Federal Officer Following HSI El Paso Investigation

Release Date: February 2, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An El Paso, Texas, man pleaded guilty to attempted murder of an officer of the United States, aggravated assault of an officer of the United States with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and conspiracy to transport undocumented noncitizens.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso investigated the case with help from the FBI’s Las Cruces branch of the FBI’s Albuquerque field office.

Roberto Esquivel, 25, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Esquivel on April 19, 2023. In his plea agreement, Esquivel admitted that on Jan. 5, 2023, he agreed to transport five undocumented noncitizens. Esquivel was to pick up the noncitizens in El Paso and transport them to Deming.

Esquivel was driving on New Mexico State Road 146 with the noncitizens when he was pulled over by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. As the agent approached Esquivel’s vehicle to conduct an immigration inspection, Esquivel removed a gun from the center console and placed it under his right leg. When it became apparent to the agent that Esquivel was transporting noncitizens, he asked Esquivel to exit the vehicle. Instead, Esquivel partially opened the door and began shooting, hitting the agent twice in the torso area. After shooting the agent, Esquivel sped off. While fleeing, Esquivel lost control of the vehicle and rolled it multiple times. Esquivel ran from the crash scene and threw the gun in the desert, where law enforcement officers subsequently recovered it.

The Border Patrol agent survived the shooting, largely because the bullets struck his ballistic vest. None of the noncitizens were seriously injured in the rollover.

Esquivel faces 19 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher S. McNair is prosecuting the case.

For more information about HSI's mission to combat human smuggling, visit Human Smuggling | HSI.

To report suspicious smuggling activity, call 877-4-HSI-TIP (877-447-4847). For more information on HSI El Paso’s efforts to investigate human smuggling in West Texas and the state of New Mexico, follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSIElPaso.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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