Mexican smuggler who hit US agent with rock gets 8-year term - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mexican smuggler who hit US agent with rock gets 8-year term

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Mexican citizen and prolific immigrant smuggler who threw a softball-sized rock at a U.S. Border Patrol agent, striking him in the face, was sentenced Monday to more than eight years in federal prison.

Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, was convicted in May of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and three counts of bringing in an alien for financial gain.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff gave the defendant an 87-month sentence for the four counts, plus an additional 12 months in custody for violating the terms of his supervised release from a 2013 alien smuggling conviction.

"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 the community," said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson.

On Nov. 15, 2015, less than two months after his deportation to Mexico following the completion of a 33-month sentence for a prior smuggling conviction, Valencia re-entered the United States guiding a group of 15 undocumented immigrants.

When the trip through the mountains in rough terrain and inclement weather was interrupted by agents, Valencia threw a softball-sized rock from 30 feet away that struck an agent on the side of the face.

Valencia evaded apprehension when he ran back into Mexico. He was arrested four months later when Mexican authorities escorted him to the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

According to court records and trial testimony, the agent who was assaulted said he had never been hit that hard in his life, and he felt an overwhelming pain that caused him to feel dazed and disoriented, as if he was going to pass out.

The rock hit the agent so hard that he thought his teeth were knocked out or his jaw was broken.

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