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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 17, 2018

Convicted Alien Smuggler Sentenced to 44 Months for Actions Resulting in Injury to Border Patrol Agent

Assistant U. S. Attorney Timothy D. Coughlin (619) 546-6768    

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 17, 2018

SAN DIEGO – Jaime Aburto, a United States citizen with a prior alien smuggling conviction, was sentenced in federal court today to forty-four months in prison for his role in a smuggling incident that left a Border Patrol Agent injured.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel following the defendant’s guilty plea in May to one count of Transportation of Certain Aliens for Financial Gain, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324. During today’s sentencing, the Court heard testimony from United States Border Patrol Agent Francisco Hurtado, who was seriously injured in apprehending Aburto.

“Smugglers see customers as dollar signs and have no concern for the safety and well-being of those they smuggle,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “This office is committed to prosecuting smugglers, particularly when it results in an injury to a border patrol agent performing his duties.”

According to Agent Hurtado, he was performing his assigned duties in the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station’s area of responsibility when he was notified by a fellow agent that she had observed two suspected aliens attempting to conceal themselves in a construction area near the border. Agent Hurtado responded to the area and positioned himself to make contact with any vehicle that may attempt to pick up the two suspected aliens. In fact, a white van stopped and the two suspected aliens jumped into the van. Agent Hurtado began to follow the van and activated his emergency lights and siren as he observed the vehicle traveling westbound on State Route 11.  Agent Hurtado gave the driver of the van, later determined to be Defendant Aburto, an opportunity to pull over and stop at a safe location. Aburto did not stop and accelerated to a speed of over 100 miles per hour and merged onto State Route 125.

Over the next several miles of his pursuit, Agent Hurtado saw defendant Aburto make a dangerous U-turn in the center median of SR 125, speed through a red traffic light across oncoming traffic near Otay Mesa Road, swerve around moving traffic, drive over the dividing median on Siempre Viva Road, drive through two heavily populated retail commercial lots and finally drive onto the sidewalk along the southbound lane of Roll Avenue, where he struck a pole and came to a stop.

The defendant jumped from the van and began to run southbound on Roll Avenue towards the Otay Mesa, California Port of Entry. Agent Hurtado engaged in a foot pursuit of Aburto and was able to overtake him.  There was a brief struggle as both Agent Hurtado and Aburto ended up wrestling on the ground. Agent Hurtado placed Aburto under arrest with the assistance of fellow border patrol agents.

As a result of Aburto’s actions of resisting arrest, Agent Hurtado sustained a serious leg injury which required him to be out of work for several weeks. He is still working to recover full mobility. Agent Hurtado spoke at Aburto’s sentencing detailing his prior military service and his 15-year career with the Border Patrol. Judge Curiel departed upward given the injury sustained by Agent Hurtado and sentenced Aburto to 44 months in custody.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number: 18cr1975-GPC                       

Jaime Aburto                                                  Age: 38           San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

One Count – Transportation of Certain Aliens for Financial Gain and Aiding and Abetting – Title 8, U.S.C., Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) and (a)(1)(B)(i)

AGENCIES

Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Border Patrol

 

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Press Release Number: 
Cas18-0817-Aburto
Updated August 17, 2018