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Press Release

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder of a Federal Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Jason T. Stevens, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations - El Paso, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Roberto Esquivel pled guilty to one count each of 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 illegal aliens. Esquivel, 25, of El Paso, Texas, 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 with other persons to transport five illegal aliens who had unlawfully come to the United States. Esquivel was to pick up the aliens in El Paso, Texas, and transport them to Deming, New Mexico. After picking up the aliens, Esquivel was driving on New Mexico State Road 146 when he was pulled over by a Border Patrol Agent. As the agent was approaching 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 aliens, 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 it was subsequently recovered by law enforcement officers.

The Border Patrol Agent survived the shooting due in large part to the bullets striking his ballistic vest. None of the illegal aliens were seriously injured in the rollover.

Per the terms of his plea agreement, Esquivel is facing 19 years in prison.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Las Cruces Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher S. McNair is prosecuting the case.

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Updated February 2, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-48