Attempted murder of Mexican trucker by US Border Patrol agent Abel Canales

Jesus Castro Romo - Victim of attempted murder by Border Patrol Agent
Brad Racino / KPBS
Jesus Castro Romo’s scar is a reminder of the attempt on his life by Border Patrol Agent Abel Canales, and the three operations that followed. He says he can no longer work as a result of his injuries to his spinal cord..

Jesus Castro Romo is a father of two who lives with his wife in Nogales Mexico across the border from Nogales Arizona. Until about a year and a half ago, Jesus was a dump truck driver in Mexico and when work was slow would cross into the US to do landscape work to support his family, which included his parents. He of course crossed illegally, as millions have over the decades since there was a border and was cross back home when work picked up for him in Mexico, again, as millions have done before him. Right or wrong is not the issue. It is what it is and until we acknowledge a broken immigration system and make efforts to fix it, it will continue. But that is not what this is about.

[pullquote_right] “I would go back and forth. I never tried to stay any longer. My wife is here. I did not plan on abandoning her.” – Jesus Castro Romo [/pullquote_right]

Early on the morning of Nov. 16, 2010, Castro crossed into the U.S., illegally, he concedes without shame, to get to Tucson for a landscaping job when a Border Patrol agent on horseback spotted the group about the same time they spotted the agent. The group scattered and begin heading back towards Mexico. The Border Patrol Agent, Abel Canales, zeroed in on Castro-Romo while the others fled. This is where Castro-Romo’s ordeal began.

According to a series of articles titled “Deadly Patrols” an investigative collaboration among nonprofit journalism organizations Investigative Newsource and KPBS, in San Diego, the Texas Observer in Austin, the PBS TV-Web newsmagazine Need to Know and The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, Jesus Castro-Romo’s ordeal is just the tip of the iceberg of a culture of murder, lies, cover-ups and corruption within the US Border Patrol.

From the article:

His group was traveling north, a mile or two past the border, when he spotted “muchos migra,” many Border Patrol agents. The travelers ran back down a hill they had climbed, toward the creek they had crossed and spread out. Castro says he imagined he would be safe, running back toward Mexico.

“We weren’t walking into the U.S. anymore, we were leaving. So we said, according to us, we were free,” he says.

“We all ran in different directions. Liliana, me and another guy ran ahead. Then Liliana went to the left, and the other guy went to the right, and I left towards the creek — and it was me that the officer chased.”

Castro claims the officer called him names and started grabbing and pushing him.

“Take it easy officer, why are you hitting me? Why are you pushing me with the horse?” Castro says he asked. The officer allegedly continued to hit him with his horse and his reins.

“It was like when bees are all over you and you got them crazy. This is how he was hitting me,” Castro says.

Castro says he asked the officer to stop. The agent then said, “I’m going to shoot you,” Castro says. And when he cowered to protect himself, the officer allegedly shot him. When he gets to this part, Castro uses his cane as an extension of his arm, drawing on the cement where each man was standing – a few feet apart.

“And when I fell he was pointing at my head … and he told me ‘I am going to kill you, you son of a bitch. Don’t move. I am going to hit (shoot) you in the head,’ he told me.”

“His eyes looked like they were about to pop out, like if he was going to kill me. But at that moment I shouted ‘help’ and he turned and saw Liliana (a fellow traveler) on top of the hill. And, he said, ‘Oh, motherfucker!!!.’ ”

Castro says the officer asked him where he was injured and said he’d go get help.

He pressed a white T-shirt from his backpack against the wound from the .40 caliber bullet and waited.

When help arrived, by helicopter, other Border Patrol agents returned with the officer, who accused Castro of hitting him in the head with a rock, Castro says.

“I told him, ‘Which rock?’ Never did I grab any rock.”

This is the new culture within the Border Patrol. They make a bad call and shoot someone, either accidentally or just for the hell of it, the excuse is “I feared for my life. He was throwing a rock at me”.

And in what has become the standard procedure in incidents such as these, the Border Patrol makes the victim out to be something he isn’t. In the case of Castro-Ramo’s, they claim he was a “coyote” instead of someone merely entering the US for temporary work.

Why should we believe Castro-Ramo’s version of the events and not the Border Patrol Agents? Well, shortly after this occurred, Abel Canales was suspended by the Border Patrol without pay. Not for the attempted murder of Jesus Castro-Romo.

Last October, BORDER PATROL AGENT ABEL CANALES was INDICTED on allegations he took bribes to allow drugs and illegal immigrants to be smuggled into the United States.

Jesus Castro-Ramos is suing the US government and the US Border Patrol and as his lawyer honestly states, it’s all about the money. Good luck to Jesus.

The incident with Castro Ramo precedes other murders and abuses of migrants and US citizens at the hands of an out of control Border Patrol force.

Sergio Hernandez-Guereca
Body of 15 year old Sergio Hernandez-Guereca, murdered by US Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mara Jr is processed by Mexican forensic personnel, June 7, 2010
  • On June 7, 2010, 15 year old Sergio Hernandez-Guerecawas murdered by US Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mara Jr. who claimed the kid was throwing rocks at him from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande in El Paso. Despite witness testimony and amateur video showing Hernandez-Guereca was hiding behind a bridge pillar during the incident and was not throwing rocks, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mara Jr was returned to duty two days after the incident. The Department of Justice declined to prosecute. Mexico has issued a murder warrant for the agent demanding his extradition.
  • In August of 2007, 23 year old Jose Alejandro Ortiz Castillo was shot and killed while crossing the fence line that separates El Paso from Cd. Juarez Mexico. Again, another unfounded incident of “He had a rock”.
  • And then of course there is the case of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett who on Jan. 12, 2007, executed, in cold blood, 23 year old  Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, who was kneeling before the agent
    Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera
    Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera was the 23 year old who was murdered execution style by Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett in front of numerous witnesses. Ballistics and forensic evidence confirmed witnesses accounts of the execution

    following his orders. Corbett, 6’5 and 265 pounds, claimed that Dominguez, 5’6″ and 145 pounds was going to bash his head in from his position kneeling on the ground. Witness testimony and forensic and ballistic evidence confirmed the witness’s version of events, however, after two trials that ended in mistrials, Corbett, a man with a history of violence and domestic abuse, was returned to duty. The family of Dominguez sued the US government and Corbett and received an $850,000.00 settlement last year. But the money doesn’t bring their son back from the grave.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett, executioner of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera makes his way into the courthouse during his second trial for the murder of the 23 year old migrant

Cochise County Attorney Edward Rheinheimer, who prosecuted the Corbett case both times said that the Corbett case was never about the politics of illegal immigration, or border security. It was about nothing more, and nothing less, than law and evidence. It was about nothing more, and nothing less, than fundamental constitutional principles of equal protection and due process.

For DOJ, on the other hand, it had everything to do with politics. Their entire position on the prosecution was governed by politics. In the end, what it boils down to is that once you introduce politics into the criminal justice system, you no longer have a criminal justice system.
And it doesn’t matter which side of the immigration issue you come down on. When politics replace justice at the Department of Justice, everybody loses.
These are just some examples of the many incidents where US Border Patrol agents have literally gotten away with murder.
In a more recent example, as recent as July 8, Border Patrol agents in Brownsville Texas shot across the border into Mexico killing 29 year old Juan Pablo Perez Santillán who was gathering firewood along the Rio Grande on the Mexican side. In this instance, Border Patrol agents justified their actions by claiming a “gun” was pointed at them. This incident happened within sight of the Veterans Memorial International Bridge which is heavily patrolled on the Mexican side by State and Federal Police and the Mexican military. This is one of the incidents that has been swept under the carpet and since July 10, absolutely no news coverage or other information can be found.
The murder and subsequent coverup of the murder of  29 year old Juan Pablo Perez Santillán by as yet unknown Border Patrol agents marks the 9th confirm killing of migrants on the border in the past 2 years.
One of the most atrocious examples of a Border Patrol out of control came in May 28, 2010 when 12 Border Patrol and Customs Agents were caught on video tasing and beating 42 year old  Anastasio Hernández Rojas at the San Ysidro border crossing in an incident that brings back memories of the Rodney King beatings. King survived, Hernandez died in a coma several days later from electric shock and the beating.
This is a video of the murder of Hernandez as caught by a student passerby:

Watch I think I witnessed someone being murdered’ on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Sixteen members of Congress are demanding that the federal government investigate the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas,

Political climate limits prosecutions in border shootings

In Part 2 of the series “Deadly Patrols”, the investigative journalist Roxana Popescu attempts to explain how the political climate against Mexicans and Mexico in general, hampers prosecution of these incidents despite blatant evidence of violation of the victims human and civil rights.

A good way to end this is with this question posed by Danielle Alvarado of the non profit group “No More Deaths” who said;

“Are we at a point as a country where the enforcement of our laws by necessity comes with that sort of treatment of people? Because if it is, I think that that is really a question for us. how have we arrived at this point where we can justify the mistreatment of people on such a huge scale, and go to bed at night as a country saying that’s the best we can do and that’s consistent with our shared values?”


I think, as a country, we’re much better than this, despite the wingnuts who portray these criminal Border Patrol Agents as hero’s and “patriots”.