McALLEN – A Mexican National illegally in the United States has been sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for assaulting a Border Patrol (BP) agent and other offenses, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Josue Leonel Torres-Benavides, 23, of Mexico, was sentenced today to 60 months in federal prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa for assaulting a BP agent and possession of marijuana on April 7, 2010. This sentence has been ordered to be served consecutive to a 60-month sentence handed down for possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. Torres-Benavides was charged and subsequently plead guilty to the offenses on May 10, 2011.

The convictions arise from an investigation which established that on April 7, 2010, at about 6 p.m., BP agents observed numerous individuals crossing the Rio Grande River near McAllen, Texas, carrying bundles making landfall on the U.S. bank. Agents then observed a van being driven North from that river bank area toward the border levee wall. Two BP agents positioned their vehicle on the levee as the vehicle approached in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The vehicle struck the front of the BP unit along with an un-occupied water district truck. The collision rendered the van inoperable and the driver, identified as Torres-Benavides, fled the van on foot carrying a hand gun. BP agents gave chase ultimately arresting him. Agents seized approximately 516 kilograms of marijuana within the van.

The defendant has been in federal custody since his April 2010 arrest and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future to serve out his sentence. Torres-Benavides is subject to deportation upon completing his prison term.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the FBI and Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas prosecuted the case.