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10 Aug, 2013 14:31

‘Not on our soil’: US Border Patrol agent won’t be charged over killing Mexican youth

‘Not on our soil’: US Border Patrol agent won’t be charged over killing Mexican youth

US authorities will not bring charges against a US Border Patrol agent who shot dead a Mexican youth suspected of drug trafficking right through the fence insulating the US from Mexico as the Justice Department "lacks jurisdiction" to do it.

US federal authorities announced on Friday that the decision was based on “the facts developed during an independent and comprehensive investigation.” The US Justice Department officials in Washington insist investigators revealed no facts to support federal prosecution for any federal criminal charge.

The incident took place on January 5, 2011, when 17-year-old Ramses Barron-Torres was fatally wounded with a single shot in an early morning incident at the US-Mexico border fence in Arizona's largest international border town of Nogales.

Border Patrol received a report about drugs being moved across the border. On arrival they pinpointed a man carrying a bundle with alleged drugs who made an escape attempt while his withdrawal was covered by four people who pelted agents with stones from Mexican territory, forcing the agents to take cover.

Protesters show support for victims killed by Border Patrol agents during a rally at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro, California February 23, 2013. (Reuters/Sandy Huffaker)

According to the agents’ report they ordered the stone throwers to stop in Spanish, but one of them, Ramses Barron-Torres, continued with the barrage, so law enforcement simply shot him through the border fence once.

On Friday the US Justice Department officials announced no sufficient evidence has been found to prove this was not self-defense, as claimed by Border Patrol agent.

Besides that, the US authorities also claim lack of jurisdiction to prosecute the agent because the young man was killed on Mexican side of the border.

The US federal criminal civil-rights statute "requires that the victim be in the United States when he was injured" to prosecute the agent, US authorities said Friday.

At the same time the US authorities addressed another fatal incident that took place in 2011 and also involved stone throwing.

Carlos LaMadrid, 19, was shot with four bullets in Arizona’s border town of Douglas on March 21, 2011, and died several hours later in hospital undergoing surgery.

According to Douglas police, LaMadrid was observed loading bundles of drugs into a vehicle and was pursued to the border fence by officers refusing to stop. Having arrived at the border, LaMadrid allegedly jumped out of the car and attempted to escape using a ladder propped against the border fence, while another man was stoning Border Patrol agents with ‘brick-size’ stones, eventually shattering the windshield of the patrol vehicle.

Protesters hug and show support for victims killed by Border Patrol agents during a rally at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro, California, California February 23, 2013. (Reuters/Sandy Huffaker)

Though no agent was hurt, they returned fire with lethal force ‘regrettably’ killing a suspect.

The agents claim they made five shots at the unidentified man throwing stones, but because LaMadrid happened to be on the firing line, he was wounded with four bullets and died. US federal authorities ruled the agents were acting in self-defense.

The names of the agents involved in both deadly shootings have never been revealed for security reasons.

The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute reports of at least 10 incidents in the past five years when the US border agents fired into Mexican territory, eventually killing six Mexicans.