Unknowns still abound after BP Agent’s death

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By Lisa Morton

It has been more two weeks since the tragic death of US Customs and Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, but the case remains under a cloud of secrecy.  A memorial service for Agent Martinez was Saturday in El Paso where Marine’s family was joined by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other of law enforcement officials. Officials involved in the ongoing investigation are cooperating with the FBI, who currently has jurisdiction over the case involving the death Agent Martinez, and injury to another near mile marker 151on Interstate 10 East of Van Horn.

FBI Public Affairs Officer S.A. Jeanette Harper responded to The Advocate’s recent request for an update in the investigation and condition of the unnamed injured agent.

“USBP has not released the name of the injured agent.  They are allowing the agent and family to recover in privacy”.  Officer Harper added, “The FBI is currently seeking information regarding the death of US Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez.  If anybody has any information regarding the evening of the incident on November 18, 2017, please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or go online at tips.fbi.gov.  The FBI is doing our due diligence to investigate every tip that comes in.”

The media frenzy that ensued was based primarily on speculation and what claimed to be in the field accounts of BP personnel as posted on several of their agency sites. The national and international attention brought to the small tight knit community of Van Horn became visibly apparent with Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo receiving multiple requests for interviews from sources such as The Dallas Morning News, CNN, and TeleMundo.

News outlets also reached out to Advocate staff prompting a written statement reiterating the Advocate’s position to wait for the facts to emerge. The response came after unsubstantiated rumors flooded the community and the airwaves, overshadowing the Thanksgiving holiday week.  Some citizens were even panicking at the thought of Van Horn being overrun by violent drug smugglers.

Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told The Advocate that he believes that once the Medical Examiner’s report on the autopsy of Agent Martinez is complete, the rumors and conspiracy theories running rampant will be dispelled.  In the meantime, as of press time, there were still signs of an active investigation in progress with both ground and air law enforcement presence combing the area just east of Van Horn.

In the initial media briefing held in El Paso, the FBI stated that they were “investigating all possibilities in this case including acts of violence against a federal officer and continue to request the cooperation of the public in seeking information regarding the incident with a $25,000 reward offered for that that does result in the resolution of what actually happened to the two Border Patrol agents.”