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Mexicans arrest man in border agent’s death

Mexican authorities said Wednesday they had arrested a man in northern Mexico in the weekend killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Mexican authorities said Wednesday they have arrested a man in the weekend killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was run over by a suspected smuggler's vehicle.

Agent Luis Aguilar, 32, was placing spike strips in the path of two vehicles believed to have illegally entered the United States from Mexico on Saturday when one of the vehicles struck and killed him, authorities in Arizona said.

Mexican federal and state police arrested Jesus Navarro Montes on Tuesday in the northern state of Sonora, according to a joint statement distributed Wednesday by Mexico's federal Attorney General's office and Public Safety Department.

Authorities believe Navarro left Mexicali in Baja California and was headed for the U.S. in a Hummer carrying drugs on Saturday, the statement said.

After allegedly running over Aguilar, Navarro, 22, drove to Mexicali and gave the Hummer to accomplices for safekeeping, said a spokesman for Attorney General's office who could not be named according to departmental rules.

The official said Navarro acknowledged hitting the agent and has been taken to Mexicali.

Navarro previously had been detained and jailed for smuggling 10 undocumented migrants into the U.S., and there was a warrant for his arrest in Mexicali for human trafficking, the statement said.

Earlier, Border Patrol Agent Michael Bernacke, a spokesman for the agency's Yuma sector, said Aguilar was hit while he was trying to stop a suspected smuggler the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area about 20 miles west of Yuma, Ariz.

In Yuma, Border Patrol officials declined comment on Wednesday, referring calls to the FBI in San Diego, which was leading the U.S. investigation.

An FBI spokeswoman did not respond immediately to an e-mail request for comment.

Bernacke said Aguilar was trying to place spike strips in the path of a Hummer and a Ford pickup truck on Interstate 8 when the suspected smuggler's vehicle hit and killed him.

Both vehicles fled into Mexico.

The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest dunes in California, extending north of the border for 40 miles and averaging five miles wide. The area is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts but also is frequently used by smugglers.