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A 20-year-old El Salvadorian was convicted by a federal jury Wednesday for assaulting a Border Patrol agent in June.
According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Jose Milton Mendoza-Felipe was convicted following a two-day trial.
At around 5:45 a.m. on June 28, law enforcement approached a group of people entering the United States illegally through the Rio Grande where they encountered Mendoza-Felipe.
The release stated that Mendoza-Felipe attempted to flee the area, but a Border Patrol agent managed to catch up to him and began to place him in custody.
It was then that 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,” the release said. “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.”
According to the criminal complaint, Mendoza-Felipe struck the agent on the left side of his chin with an open palm.
The agent called for assistance when he was able to release himself from the chokehold.
Another agent responded to the call and assisted with apprehending Mendoza-Felipe.
During the trial, the jury saw the scratch marks left on the agent’s neck and heard how the agent had to take pain medication for his injuries sustained during the struggle.
Mendoza-Felipe testified that he didn’t choke the agent and didn’t realize he was law enforcement.
He said that he was defending himself, but the jury didn’t believe his defense claims and found him guilty.
U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton scheduled Mendoza-Felipe’s sentencing for late January.
Mendoza-Felipe is facing up to eight years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
He will remain in custody pending sentencing.