Border Patrol agent says he was assaulted in Falfurrias

Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:24 pm

FALFURRIAS A U.S. Border Patrol agent said he was assaulted by a man armed with a knife as he tried to arrest him Sunday afternoon.

Border Patrol agents tried to stop a Lincoln Town Car heading north along U.S. 281 near Farm-to-Market Road 2191 about noon Sunday, according to a criminal complaint.

The Lincoln's driver pulled off the highway and parked near a church, where four people ran from the vehicle into the nearby brush, the complaint states.

Agents said they caught two of the people who'd fled. Border Patrol Agent Edgar Garcia followed another man who ran from the car later identified as Esteban Arroyo and attempted to arrest him, according to the complaint.

Garcia said Arroyo "became combative" and threw him to the ground during the arrest, the complaint states. Garcia said he stood up and saw Arroyo had a knife and then fired pepper spray at him, subduing him enough to be placed under arrest.

Arroyo told Border Patrol agents he'd been drinking throughout the night before, celebrating his brother's birthday and was helping a woman in the car Angelica Santos pick up friends in Falfurrias.

He said he woke up when Border Patrol agents ran from the Lincoln.

Santos told agents Arroyo asked her to take him to Falfurrias to pick up some friends. When they reached the Brooks County Rest Area south of the city on U.S. 281, they stopped and picked up three people who appeared to be immigrants illegally in the country, according to the complaint. One of the immigrants said they hadn't eaten or drank anything in three days.

Arroyo later told a Homeland Security Investigations agent that he never reached for his knife when confronted by Garcia and that he ran from the Lincoln because a Border Patrol agent ran to the car ant hit the driver's side window with his gun, according tot he complaint.

He denied knowing anything about the immigrants.

One of the immigrants told the HSI agent that he'd illegally entered the U.S. on Aug. 11 and that he'd stayed in several stash houses before trying to head north to Houston. He said he'd never met Arroyo, but recognized his voice when he got into the car at the rest stop and "it was apparent" he was in charge, the complaint states.

Arroyo was formally charged with assaulting a federal officer and immigrant smuggling. Santos, who told agents she had no financial gain during the smuggling attempt, was charged with immigrant smuggling.

The case remains pending in federal court in Corpus Christi.