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BP: Guatemalan man charged with assault for fighting with agents

A Guatemalan man will face charges of assault on a federal officer after he pulled a Border Patrol agent off his motorcycle during an altercation south of Sells, Ariz., about 56 miles southwest of Tucson, on Thursday morning, authorities said. 

Two agents patrolling on off-road motorcycles tracked two men, suspected of being in the country illegally, in the desert a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, said a spokesman with Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.

One agent located and arrested one of the men, identified only as a 34-year-old Mexican man, the spokesman said.

The second agent attempted to arrest the second man, identified only as a 20-year-old Guatemalan man, but was "pulled off his motorcycle" by the man and physically assaulted, the spokesman said.

The other agent intervened, and helped restrain the man as he "continued to fight both agents" before he was placed under arrest, the spokesman said.

He will be charged with assault on a federal officer by the U.S. Attorney's Office and will also face immigration proceedings under Tucson Sector guidelines.

The other man will also be processed for immigration violations, the spokesman said. 

In the last three weeks, the agency has reported that three agents were assaulted when they attempted to make arrests in Southern Arizona. In one incident, a man threw dirt in an agent's face near Sasabe, Ariz., and in another a man kicked an agent in the head as the he tried to apprehend the man at the border fence in Nogales.

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In a third incident, on November 29, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a man after he attempted to "gain control" of the agent's sidearm, during an incident in the remote Baboquivari Mountains, said Rodolfo Karisch, the chief of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.

Overall, assaults against Border Patrol agents have increased nearly 73 percent from the fiscal years of 2016 to 2017, however that increase is driven almost entirely by assaults against agents in the Rio Grande Valley, where incidents increased from 151 in 2016 to 422 in 2017, according to agency statistics.

In Tucson Sector, assaults went down, declining from 123 incidents to 93. 

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com