LAREDO, Texas — A U.S. citizen from this border city who was found guilty of assaulting a U.S. Border Patrol agent while smuggling roughly five pounds of crystal meth will spend almost 20 years in prison.
On Monday, 40-year-old Jorge Rocha went before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who sentenced him to spend 235 months or 19 years and 7 months in prison for assaulting a federal agent and for smuggling the drugs, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s office revealed. Rocha had been convicted of the charges on July 18, 2016 and had been in federal detention awaiting sentencing.
The case against Rocha began on January 29, 2016 when U.S. Border Patrol agents were called to the downtown area in what used to be at one point the River Mall shopping center, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed. A camera operator has spotted a group of men crossing the Rio Grande and alerted the agents to the general area so they could intercept them. When one of the agents arrived to the area he spotted Rocha running out of the river towards the stairs that lead to the defunct shopping center. While trying to carry out the arrest, Rocha struck the agent in the head multiple times with an unknown object. Eventually the agent received backup and the group was able to arrest Rocha and find a drug package with five pounds of meth that he had been carrying.
As Breitbart Texas has been reporting, the area near downtown Laredo and other nearby areas continue to be a favored crossing point for drug smugglers working for the Los Zetas cartel who now go by the name Cartel Del Noreste. Since downtown Laredo and Nuevo Laredo lack any physical barriers such as fencing to slow down smugglers, Los Zetas only have to cross the shallow waters of the Rio Grande to bring their goods into the Texas city.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.