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Mexican man sentenced to 14 mos. for 'forcibly' grabbing BP agent's genitals during arrest

Mexican man sentenced to 14 mos. for 'forcibly' grabbing BP agent's genitals during arrest

  • A Border Patrol vehicle drives along the U.S.-Mexico border near Naco, Arizona.
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comA Border Patrol vehicle drives along the U.S.-Mexico border near Naco, Arizona.

A Mexican man was sentenced to more than a year in prison last month after pleading guilty to assaulting a Border Patrol agent during an incident last year near Douglas, Ariz.

Martin Trinidad-Solano, 25, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, followed by one year of probation by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins during a hearing in Tucson on Aug. 30. As part of a plea agreement filed in June, Trinidad told the court he "forcibly grabbed" the agent's genitals, causing "considerable pain" as the two struggled near the border fence in July 2021.

The incident began around 4:55 a.m. when a mobile surveillance team told Border Patrol agents two people were headed toward a "highly trafficked" area near the border town of Douglas, according to court records.

The agent, identified only as M.B. in court records, responded and approached the two people hiding in brush. One man, later identified as Trinidad, ran from the agent.

After a chase, the agent attempted to take Trinidad into custody, but the man "refused to comply" with the agent's orders to place his hands behind his back and stop moving. Trinidad grabbed the agent's wrist, and then placed an arm between the agent's legs in what court records describe as an "attempt to roll the agent off" him, according to the complaint.

In the plea agreement, Trinidad said he "refused to comply" and instead "fought the agent." Trinidad, a citizen of Mexico, told the court he speaks Spanish and Mixteco Bajo, one of the dialects of Mixteco — a language spoken by about 530,000 people in the southern end of Mexico, along the Pacific Coast. Trinidad waved his right to an interpreter in Mixteco, according to court records.

"When his maneuver was unsuccessful," Trinidad "forcibly grabbed" the agent's genitals and "squeezed, causing considerable pain" to the agent. The agent shoved his elbow into Trinidad's neck and ordered the man to stop fighting. However, Trinidad "continued to fight" the agent until other agents arrived, and he was "forcibly taken into custody," according to court records. 

While apprehensions have spiked to near-historic levels over the last two years, the number of agents reporting an attack of some kind has declined. During the fiscal year of 2019—which ran from October 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019—data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows 667 agents were assaulted while agents took nearly 852,000 people into custody.

During the fiscal year of 2021, the number of agents reporting an assault declined to 617 while apprehensions more than doubled to 1.9 million. And, with just weeks left in the fiscal year of 2022, 580 agents have reported assaults, despite apprehensions surpassing 2.2 million.

Earlier this year, a Border Patrol agent stabbed a Mexican man twice, killing him during an incident near Douglas.

Abigail Roman Aguilar, 32, suffered two stab wounds in his chest: one wound was in his upper left chest, puncturing his internal jugular vein, and, the second went through his right lung. Aguilar was in BP custody after he tried to flee agents and got tangled in barbed wire. He was taken to a nearby hospital for stitches, however, after his discharge he ended up in an altercation with a BP agent, "during which time he was stabbed with a knife."

The FBI said in May they were continuing to investigate Aguilar's death.

 U.S. Border Patrol conducted the investigation in this case, said Yvette Cantu, a Justice Department spokeswoman. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam D. Rossi and Matthew C. Cassell, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution, she said.

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border patrol, douglas, raner collins

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