Border agent murder possibly linked to car in New Mexico

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PORTALES, NM (KRQE) – Were a pair of brothers found in New Mexico behind the murder of a Border Patrol agent in Texas? While the FBI has not gone into specifics, KRQE News 13 has obtained a federal search warrant that shows investigators have leads in the case and they surround a car in Portales.

On Nov. 19, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said two agents “were responding to activity” while on patrol near Interstate 10 in the area of Van Horn, Texas, which is about 30 miles from the border with Mexico and about 110 miles southeast of El Paso, when they were apparently attacked. Border Patrol Agent  Rogelio Martinez, 36, and his partner were transported to a hospital, where Martinez later died. Martinez’s partner, whose name hasn’t been released, was released three days after the attack.

In their investigation, agents say an informant had heard from a “coyote” – which is a reference to a person who smuggles people into the U.S. – that two men who had recently crossed the Mexican border with a group of immigrants admitted they had attacked the agents with rocks.

This information eventually led to a pair of brothers in Portales, and a silver 2004 Pontiac Grand Am. KRQE News 13 is not naming the brothers at this time because they have not been charged, however, agents questioned them about the murder.

The brothers denied everything but did admit to driving the Grand Am in Presidio, Texas, not too far south of the murder scene the day after the killing along with a woman.

In an interview with the woman, investigators say she overheard one of the brothers talking on the phone about smuggling meth and heroin. Investigators believe the brother was smuggling the drugs in backpacks over the border.

The search warrant for the Pontiac does not give a motive for the murder or spell out how it unfolded. However, the search warrant states that “…the subject vehicle contains trace evidence associated with the murder of a Border Patrol agent and the assault of another, alien smuggling, and drug trafficking…”

That trace evidence includes a red stain on a seat and athletic pants that had unknown stains. They are also testing for fluids, DNA and soil.

Agents also want to transport the car to Albuquerque for additional testing.

Investigators will present their findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and to the American public. Currently one of the brothers is in custody for being in the country illegally.

Read the Full Search Warrant

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