Crime

Documents: Coyote tipped investigators to possible suspects in Border Patrol agent's death

BORDER PATROL DEATH

EL PASO, Texas - Federal investigators requested a search warrant for a 2004 Pontiac Grand AM that could contain "trace evidence" relating to drug trafficking and the death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez.

The vehicle, registered to a woman in Portales, New Mexico, is currently in custody of the FBI, according to a court document obtained by ABC-7. "There is probable cause 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," the search warrant states.

The FBI Monday doubled its reward for information in the death of a border patrol agent that could lead to resolving the case. Agent Martinez died after he was found November 18, 2017 with severe head injuries and broken bones near Van Horn, Texas. The reward for information increased from $25,000 to $50,000.  

Investigators have said Martinez's partner, who radioed for help and who has not been named, is recovering from similar injuries but does not remember what happened.  The search warrant identifies Martinez's partner as Border Patrol Agent Stephen Garland.

The search warrant further states a Source of Information (SOI) provided information to the Border Patrol about the likely "perpetrators of the assault on agent Rogelio Martinez and Martinez's partners."

The SOI, the document states, is familiar with individuals involved in the illegal smuggling of undocumented immigrants across the U.S./Mexico border and told the Border Patrol about an alleged "coyote" who told a Customs and Border Protection agent about a group he recently smuggled into the U.S.

Certain individuals in that group, the coyote said, "discussed their assault of the agents." Court documents identify the two suspects who allegedly assaulted the Border Patrol agents. ABC-7 is not identifying the suspects because they have not yet been charged with a crime.

The suspects allegedly told the coyote they assaulted the Border Patrol agents with rocks. The coyote told investigators possible Suspect #1 could be found in Portales, New Mexico while possible Suspect #2 could be located in Odessa, Texas.

On November, 28, 2017, investigators located possible Suspect #1 in Portales and he denied having anything to do with the assault of the Border Patrol agents. The possible suspect allegedly admitted to entering the U.S. illegally on November 20, 2017. Possible Suspect #1 was allegedly picked up by his brother, who at the time, was driving the 2004 Pontiac Grand AM.

A woman riding in the Grand AM when possible Suspect #1 was picked up allegedly told investigators she overheard possible Suspect #1 talking on the phone about crossing into the US illegally with methamphetamine and heroin.

Investigators believe they can find evidence, linking possible Suspect #1 to the assault on the agents, inside the Pontiac Grand AM. "When two individuals struggle, the physical components of their person can be exchanged as well," the court document states, "It can take the form of textile fibers compromising their clothing, hairs from different body areas, and other fibers and materials."

According to a second search warrant, investigators recovered  a piece of fabric with a red stain "at the bottom" of the rear driver's side seat, a second piece of fabric with a red stain in the rear driver's side seat, "dark-colored athletic pants with unknown stains" in the vehicle's trunk, and blue jeans in the trunk. 

The search warrants do not reveal what trace evidence, if any, was found in the objects collected inside the vehicle. It is unclear if the red stains found in the fabric are DNA. 


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