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Man pleads guilty to attempted murder of Border Patrol agent while transporting illegal immigrants

He was indicted in April 2023.

Published: February 6, 2024 12:15pm

A Texas man pleaded guilty to attempted murder of a federal officer after he shot a Border Patrol agent while transporting five illegal immigrants, officials said. 

Roberto Esquivel, 25, remains in custody pending sentencing, where he faces up to 19 years behind bars, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday. 

Esquivel admitted in his plea agreement that he agreed on Jan. 5, 2023, to transport five illegal immigrants from El Paso, Texas, to Deming, N.M.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent pulled over Esquivel while he was driving in New Mexico with the illegal immigrants and as the agent approached, Esquivel took a firearm from the center console and stored it under his leg, officials said.

When the agent realized the vehicle was transporting illegal immigrants, he asked Esquivel to exit the vehicle, officials said. Esquivel partially opened the vehicle door in response and opened fire, hitting the agent in the torso before speeding away. 

As he fled the scene, Esquivel lost control of the vehicle and it rolled multiple times. He fled the scene and threw the firearm, which officials later recovered, authorities said. 

The Border Patrol agent, who was protected by a ballistic vest, survived the shooting. None of the illegal immigrants received serious injuries from the vehicle rollover.  

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