Agents and other law enforcement attended a funeral Mass for U.S. Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was celebrated Saturday afternoon.
Sara Sanchez and Mark Lambie/El Paso Times
EL PASO — Two brothers have drawn the interest of FBI officials who are investigating the unresolved death of a border patrol agent last month in Van Horn, Texas, according to court documents filed this week in New Mexico.
The documents offer a snapshot of a new turn in a federal investigation that has provided few details into the death of Rogelio Martinez, a Border Patrol agent from El Paso.
Martinez, 36, was found injured along a stretch of Interstate 10 near Van Horn before being taken to an El Paso hospital where he died. His partner, Stephen Garland, who is named for the first time in court documents, also was injured in the incident.
The Border Patrol union has said it believes the agents were “ambushed,” while others have suggested that the death could have been an accident.
FBI officials have said they are investigating the case as a “potential assault.” They did not offer comment on the warrants, which were sealed on Thursday.
“The FBI has no comment at this time,” Agent Jeanette Harper, FBI El Paso Division spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The investigation is still ongoing. We are aggressively addressing all leads and tips that are being received on the 1-800-CALL-FBI tip line. We ask the public to continue submitting information regarding the November 18th incident.”
In a request for a search warrant, FBI Special Agent Jeff Rosenquist states that a person, who is familiar with human smugglers, or coyotes, who illegally transport immigrants across the border, provided Border Patrol information about the “likely perpetrators of the assault” against Martinez and his partner.
The court filings state that the subject of information was told by a human smuggler that individuals in a recently smuggled group “discussed their assault of the agents.”
The smuggler did not know their names, according to the document, which states that the informant later learned that brothers Antonio and Jesus Muñoz, “were the individuals in that group who assaulted the two Border Patrol Agents with rocks.”
The brothers have denied assaulting the agents. They have not been charged in the case.
Officials in Albuquerque sought and later obtained a search warrant for a silver 2004 Pontiac Grand Am. According to court filings, investigators found fabric in the car that was stained red.
Court filings state that a third brother, Daniel Muñoz, and a female passenger picked up Antonio Muñoz on Nov. 20 along the side of the road in Presidio, Texas, then drove to Portales, New Mexico. The car allegedly broke down in Tatum, New Mexico, but was picked up the next day, court documents stated.
During a Nov. 28 interview with federal agents in Portales, Antonio Muñoz admitted to entering the country illegally but denied any involvement in the assault of the Border Patrol agents, documents state. Daniel Muñoz denied knowing anything about an assault, according to documents.
Antonio Muñoz was detained for illegal re-entry into the United States. He was taken before a federal judge on Nov. 29 in Roswell, New Mexico.
Jesus Muñoz is allegedly in Odessa, according to the documents which did not state whether agents had interviewed him in the case.
The female passenger, who was in the Pontiac, told federal authorities that Antonio Muñoz “looked clean,” when he was picked up and was wearing “clean clothes, a sweater, hoodie, hat and jeans,” court documents state.
She said she overheard Antonio Muñoz talking to someone on the phone “about crossing into the United States with illegal drugs to include methamphetamine and heroin,” according to the court filing.
Albuquerque television station KRQE first reported the court filings.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information that helps find who or what caused the death of Agent Rogelio Martinez. The reward is separate from the $20,000 being offered by the state through Crime Stoppers of Texas.
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