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Press Release

Woman Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Assaulting Customs and Border Protection Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U. S. Attorney Michael A. Deshong (619) 546-9290


SAN DIEGO – Barbara Ross was sentenced in federal court today to 18 months in prison for assaulting a Customs and Border Protection Officer at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on August 2, 2019.

Ross, 39, was convicted by a federal jury following a two-day trial in January. According to evidence presented at trial, Ross attempted to enter the United States through a vehicle lane with her husband and two minor children in her car. When Customs and Border Protection Officer Robert Barragan attempted to ask Ross standard questions regarding her international travel, Ross became aggressive and threatening.

Ross screamed profanities at Officer Barragan and refused to answer questions. Officer Barragan referred her to a secondary inspection lot where other officers could speak with Ross without causing delays in the vehicle lane. As Ross’s husband drove their car to the secondary inspection lot, Ross continued to scream profanities. Upon arriving in the lot, Ross jumped out of the car and when Customs and Border Protection Officer Moises Perez contacted her, Ross repeatedly slapped at Officer Perez with enough force that she broke the skin on his hand and drew blood.  

At sentencing today, the Court heard about Ross’s history of aggressive behavior towards law enforcement going back to 2003. The Court also heard about multiple prior incidents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, including an incident in August 2018 where Ross refused to obey an officer’s orders, which caused officers to have to deploy a “stop stick” in order to stop her car.

“Our courageous federal officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our country, and when they are attacked, we will respond appropriately,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “This defendant assaulted multiple officers without provocation. That kind of violence is unacceptable. We are committed to vigorously prosecuting these cases.” Brewer commended the work of prosecutor Michael Deshong and agents from HSI and CBP for their excellent work.

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is committed to investigating and bringing to justice any assault against a law enforcement officer, specifically our federal partners within the Department of Homeland Security,” said Cardell Morant, Special Agent in Charge for HSI in San Diego. “The message is very simple, if you become violent with a federal law enforcement officer performing their duties, you can expect swift and severe charges in federal court.”

“CBP officers serve their country with honor, vigilance and professionalism, and as part of their national security duties they face significant risks. We are extremely appreciative of the diligent work of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of California in bringing this case to justice,” said Pete Flores, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 19cr3350-W  

Barbara L. Ross                                              Age: 39                       San Diego, CA


Assault on a Federal Officer with Physical Contact, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 111(a)(1)

Maximum Penalty: Eight years in prison


United States Customs and Border Protection

Homeland Security Investigations

Updated July 28, 2020

Press Release Number: CAS20-0727-Ross