You are here

Justice News

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

Monday, February 10, 2020

Man Sentenced for Assaulting a U.S. Border Patrol Agent with a Handgun

Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen H. Wong (619) 546-9464

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 10, 2020

SAN DIEGO – Hector Rodriguez-Chavez, a Mexican national, was sentenced in federal court today to 141 months in prison for pointing a loaded handgun at a U.S. Border Patrol agent in November 2018.

Rodriguez-Chavez pleaded guilty in September 2019 to one count of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. During the sentencing hearing, Border Patrol agents described how they came upon Rodriguez-Chavez in a remote area approximately three miles east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Rodriguez-Chavez turned and pointed a loaded semiautomatic pistol at one of the agents. That agent told the court he made a split-second decision to grab Rodriguez-Chavez’s gun and wrestle it out of his hands.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel imposed a 141-month sentence for the two counts, plus an additional 24 months in custody for violating the terms of supervised release from a 2014 conviction for illegal re-entry of a deported alien. In imposing the sentence, Judge Curiel noted that one of the purposes of the sentence was to promote respect for the law. Judge Curiel noted how Border Patrol agents must work in remote areas and that, “few law enforcement officers place their life on the line to the extent that Border Patrol agents do.”

“This sentence is a fitting reminder that the safety of our courageous agents, who put their lives on the line every day to protect our country, is of paramount importance to our office and to the community,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.

“I’m pleased by this sentence,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke. “Any day that our agents go home safe is a good day. Border Patrol Agents risk their lives every day protecting America and the agent’s quick thinking in this case prevented any bloodshed.”

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 16-CR-0730                                      

Hector Rodriguez-Chavez                               Age: 62         Guadalajara, Mexico


Count 1: Assault on a Federal Officer, in violation 18 U.S.C. 111 (a)(b)

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

Count 2: Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924 (c)

Maximum Penalty: Mandatory Minimum of seven years in prison, maximum life


Federal Bureau of Investigation

U.S. Border Patrol


Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 10, 2020