EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A Guatemalan national is facing federal charges after allegedly striking in the head a Border Patrol agent who attempted to apprehend him.

The incident near Eagle Pass, Texas, took place last Saturday as Border Patrol agents spotted six individuals hiding in the brush of the 16,000-acre Cage Ranch in Maverick County and attempted to interview them. Court records show that Agustin Choj allegedly tried to run off and was pursued by an agent. The agent caught up to him and a struggle ensued.

A federal arrest affidavit states that Choj resisted apprehension by kicking, punching and grappling with the unnamed agent. Choj allegedly struck the agent in the head with an elbow and that’s when a second agent deployed his Taser to subdue him, court records show.

The agents placed Choj in handcuffs and established that he was a citizen of Guatemala present in the United States illegally.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Collis White on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against Choj on charges of assault on a federal officer engaged in the performance of his duties. On Thursday, the same judge ordered Choj to remain in federal custody without bond.

Graphic courtesy CBP
Graphic courtesy CBP

The penalty for simple assault on a federal employee is up to one year’s imprisonment and a $100,000 fine but can be enhanced to up to eight years depending on the circumstance. Assault of a federal employee with a deadly or dangerous weapon carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recorded 357 assaults on border officers and agents from Oct. 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. The agency reported 521 such assaults in all of fiscal year 2022.

Most assaults consist of physical force used against the agents or rocks thrown in their direction. Agents have been shot at seven times since October and 12 times last year, CBP data shows.