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Press Release

Violent alien strangles federal agent in attempt to flee

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

McALLEN, Texas – A federal jury has convicted a 20-year-old El Salvadorian for assaulting a Border Patrol (BP) agent, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

The jury convicted Jose Milton Mendoza-Felipe following a two-day trial.

On June 28, law enforcement approached a group of undocumented non-citizens near the Rio Grande River. Mendoza-Felipe was one of those individuals and tried to flee the area. A BP agent caught up to him and attempted to place him in custody. However, Mendoza-Felipe resisted and became combative.

The jury heard testimony that Mendoza-Felipe attempted to strangle the agent by squeezing his windpipe during the struggle. When the agent was able to escape from the chokehold, Mendoza-Felipe again tried to grab him by the throat, but struck the agent’s jaw instead, causing him to bleed. Mendoza-Felipe only complied once another BP agent arrived.

At trial, the jury saw the scratch marks left on the agent’s neck and heard how he had to take pain medication for his injuries.

Mendoza-Felipe testified in the trial, claiming that he did not choke the agent and that he did not realize he was law enforcement. He told the jury he was just defending himself. The jury did not believe defense claims and found him guilty as charged.

U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton presided over trial and set sentencing for Jan. 29, 2024. At that time, Mendoza-Felipe faces up to eight years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

Mendoza-Felipe has been and will remain in custody pending sentencing

The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee Fry and Devin V. Walker are prosecuting the case.

Updated November 8, 2023

Violent Crime