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Mexican national extradited to U.S. in death of Border Patrol agent

January 28, 2010 | 12:42 pm

A 24-year-old Mexican national has been extradited to the U.S. to stand trial on charges of drug smuggling and second-degree murder for allegedly running over a Border Patrol agent in the Imperial Valley in 2008, the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego announced today.

Jesus Navarro Montes has been taken to Houston and will be moved to the jurisdiction of the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of California, which covers San Diego and Imperial counties.

Navarro Montes has been indicted in the Jan. 19, 2008, death of agent Luis Aguilar. Aguilar was on patrol in the Imperial Sand Dunes area of Imperial County when he was struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle driven by Navarro Montes, according to the indictment.

Aguilar, a six-year Border Patrol veteran, was trying to stop the vehicle, which he believed was attempting to smuggle drugs into the U.S., officials said.

If convicted, Navarro Montes could be sentenced to 40 years on the narcotics charge and life in prison on the murder charge, prosecutors said.

Navarro Montes was first arrested by Mexican authorities near Mexicali but released in June 2008, sparking a protest from U.S. officials. He was rearrested six months later by Mexican law enforcement near the resort town of Zihuatanejo, with assistance from the FBI and U.S. marshal's office.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego