San Diego

Man Sentenced for Smuggling People Across Border, Throwing Rock at Border Patrol Agent

A Mexican national was sentenced in federal court Monday for smuggling people illegally across the U.S-Mexico border and throwing a softball-sized rock at a Border Patrol agent .

Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, was sentenced to 99 months in prison. He was convicted in May of one count of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon and three counts of smuggling people into the U.S. for money.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Valencia-Cortez was discovered by Border Patrol agents on Nov. 15, 2015, smuggling a group of 15 undocumented immigrants across the border.

He threw a rock at an agent from approximately 30-feet away and hit the agent on the side of his face.

Valencia-Cortez escaped and headed back to Mexico. He was taken to the San Ysidro Port of Entry on March. 11, 2016 by Mexican authorities and arrested.

The agent testified in court that "he had never been hit that hard in his life" and the pain was so intense, he was "dazed and disorientated." 

Valencia-Cortez was given an 87-month sentence for the four counts and 12 months for violating the terms of supervised release stemming from a human smuggling conviction back in 2013.

Contact Us