Dozens face riot charges in El Paso County

by: Julian Resendiz, Andra Litton
Posted: Mar 29, 2024 / 06:26 PM CDT
Updated: Mar 29, 2024 / 11:14 PM CDT

Records show some linked to illegal entry same day large group of migrants charged past Texas Guard at border wall


EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – At least 57 individuals are facing state charges for participating in a riot in El Paso County. Records show some also were federally charged in connection with an illegal entry to the United States on March 21.

That’s the day a large group of presumptive asylum-seekers tore down razor wire property of the State of Texas and forced their way through a barrier of outnumbered Texas Army National Guard troops.

Court records show Venezuelan nationals like Omar Alejandro Graterol Colmenares and Jose Guillarte Acosta were charged with improper entry by an alien, committed to federal custody for one day in addition to time already served, then handed over to state custody for prosecution.

Records show Graterol is being held on a $42,000 bond in El Paso County on state charges of riot participation and criminal mischief under $30,000; Guilarte has a $57,000 bond for similar charges.

Migrant allegedly stomped soldier’s knees during ruckus at border, documents state

According to a state court records search, seven were charged with riot participation following an indictment on March 28. The remaining 50 individuals were charged on March 29.

KTSM and Border Report reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety for comment and to find out if charges against additional defendants are pending. DPS did not immediately respond.

The March 21 events unfolded as hundreds of migrants gathered near the border wall south of El Paso on the same day a federal court put on hold Texas’ controversial SB4 law, which gives local police authority to arrest undocumented migrants.

Hundreds of migrants gather at border wall as court debates SB4

Tempers flared and a large group of migrants tore down razor wire placed by Texas south of the U.S. border wall and tried to make its way past Texas Guard troops.

One guardsman was thrown to the ground and a Honduran national later identified as Everisto Benitez Martinez allegedly stomped on the guardsman’s knee repeatedly, court documents allege.

Texas Tactical Border Force Guard memebers arrive in El Paso March 26, 2024, to provide extra security along El Paso’s southern border. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)Benitez has been charged with assault on a public servant.

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After the fracas, Texas deployed an additional 200 Guard troops to El Paso, rebuilt and reinforced the razor wire that is considered state property and is constantly playing a recording in Spanish reminding migrants along the Rio Grande that it is illegal to enter the United States between ports of entry.