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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 16, 2019

Undocumented Alien Ordered to Prison for Assaulting Federal Officer

LAREDO, Texas – A 39-year-old Mexican national has been sentenced for attacking a Border Patrol (BP) agent with a flashlight, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Melecio Lopez-Hernandez pleaded guilty April 30, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo handed Lopez-Hernandez a 70-month sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following the sentence. At the hearing, the defense attempted to convince the court he thought the officer was a cow and was startled when he appeared. Judge Marmolejo was not persuaded. She further found the flashlight he used was a dangerous weapon under the law and noted Lopez-Hernandez had a clear intent to harm the agent based on the evidence.

Authorities arrested Lopez-Hernandez Feb. 7, 2019, after a BP agent encountered him walking through the brush south of Freer. He began to struggle as the agent attempted to detain him, during which time Lopez-Hernandez dislodged a flashlight that was clipped to the agent’s outer vest.

After verbally threatening him, Lopez-Hernandez then struck the agent in the head with the flashlight. The agent sustained injuries from the impact. 

He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The FBI and Border Patrol conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Day is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated September 16, 2019