It took jurors in San Diego federal court only two hours to find defendant Jesus Navarro-Montes guilty in the killing of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar, who died Jan. 19, 2008, at the Andrade Port of Entry while he was placing a spike strip during an incident involving a fleeing vehicle.
Navarro was also convicted in the same case of conspiring to distribute marijuana. Prosecutors charged Navarro with driving a Hummer H2 in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area when the vehicle struck Aguilar.
Sentencing for Navarro is set for June 27. Navarro faces a maximum prison term of 40 years on the narcotics charge and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on the murder charge.
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Navarro was one of three defendants tried in connection with the drug charge. The two other defendants are Jorge Montes-Leyva and Macedonio Guerrero. Authorities said that the Hummer and a Ford F-250 pickup had crossed from Mexico into the U.S. and were traveling west on Interstate 8.
But both vehicles began heading back when Border Patrol agents began following them. Navarro fled into Mexico, where he was later arrested. He subsequently was released by Mexican authorities on the grounds that there was no international arrest warrant.
Navarro was arrested a second time in Mexico in February 2009 and extradited to the U.S. more than a year later to face charges in the Southern District of California.
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at email@example.com