Feds say smuggler hit border agent with rock in California

Feds say smuggler hit border agent with rock in California

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Federal authorities say a notorious human smuggler struck a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the face with a rock after a foiled smuggling attempt in the mountains of eastern San Diego County.

Border Patrol officials say the suspect, Martel Valencia-Cortez, was allegedly smuggling 14 people through rocky terrain near Jacumba Hot Springs Sunday evening when the group was spotted.

As agents moved in, Valencia-Cortez ran to higher ground. Officials say he hurled a softball-sized rock at agents, striking one in the face.

The 14 people he was suspected of smuggling into the U.S. were arrested and interviewed. They identified Valencia-Cortez, who was released from prison in September after serving a term for human smuggling.

He was last spotted fleeing toward Mexico.

The injured agent received treatment for cuts and bruising.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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