Mexican Men Face Death Penalty in Border Patrol Slaying



Two illegal aliens charged in the slaying of a Border Patrol officer won’t have to worry about deportation back to Mexico if convicted by a Texas jury. They’ll face the death penalty.

Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval and Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo are on trial in Brownsville, Texas, 3 ½ years after allegedly gunning down Javier Vega Jr. The pair is also charged with shooting and wounding Vega’s father.

State prosecutors say Tijerina-Sandoval, 32, and Hernandez-Vallejo, 43, tried to rob the Vegas, who were fishing in a remote area in the Rio Grande Valley. Vega, an officer with the Border Patrol for six years, was shot and killed when he drew his gun.

Border Patrol agents arrested the two men the next day. Authorities said the pair belonged to “a criminal organization” in Mexico. It is not known how long they had been in the U.S.

A pool of 400 prospective jurors will be interviewed for consideration. Cameron County District Clerk Eric Garza said more jurors are summoned in death-penalty cases to give the defense and prosecution the widest options in selection.

Texas leads the nation with 518 executions since 1976, 37 percent of the U.S. total.

Tijerina-Sandoval and Hernandez-Vallejo are Mexican nationals, and Mexico, which does not have the death penalty, has denounced U.S. executions of its citizens as human-rights violations.

Texas authorities say they don’t discriminate: Murder is murder, and justice requires that convicted killers be subject to the state’s capital punishment law.

Last November, Texas executed Ruben Cardenas, a Mexican national convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing his 16-year-old cousin.

Currently, 54 Mexican citizens have pending death sentences in the United States.

Vega’s family lobbied to have his death classified as occurring in the line of duty. In 2016, the Border Patrol consented. Late last year, the South Texas immigration checkpoint in Sarita, where Vega was stationed, was renamed in his honor.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

8 Comments

  1. avatar

    It’s pretty funny when Mexico calls our death penalty a human rights violation. Read what Amnesty International says about the human rights situation in Mexico. They have said that numerous violations occur, including murders of innocent civilians, journalists and politicians, and the authorities in that country either look the other way or are actually part of the problem.

    The drug gangs essentially rule the Mexican states that border the US. A few years ago 43 college students disappeared and to this day there has not been an explanation of what happened. An international committee that arrived in the country to investigate subsequently left after a few weeks, complaining that the government stonewalled and even threatened them.

  2. avatar

    They need to be used as an example and be publicly executed in the streets Hopefully this will be a deterrent to someone else who also thinks they will get away with it. But immediately after convicted.

  3. avatar

    It’s a shame all the police men and women we have lost over illegal aliens something needs to be done President Trump is the one that I believe will put a stop to it These sanctuary city are to blame they have the blood of all the innocent people that have died due to this sanctuary city’s Thank you President Trump for caring about us Americans.

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