22-Year-Old Man Charged for Assaulting a Customs and Border Protection Helicopter Pilot

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

TUCSON, Ariz. –On October 13, 2022, United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents arrested Hugo Alexander Garcia-Sales, 22, of Guatemala, for Assault on a Federal Officer With a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon and Improper Entry by an Alien.

The complaint alleges that on October 13, 2022, USBP agents responded to a remote area near Henrick’s Well after receiving reports of two suspected undocumented noncitizens. When agents arrived on the scene, the individuals ran, and a USBP helicopter was called in to assist in the search. While the pilot hovered above the ground, Garcia-Sales threw five softball-sized rocks at the helicopter. Although Garcia-Sales failed to hit the helicopter, one rock came within several feet of striking the aircraft, creating a severe risk of injury or death to the victim pilot. USBP agents arrested Garcia-Sales and confirmed he was a non-U.S. citizen without legal permission to enter or remain in the United States. The other individual evaded apprehension.

Assault on a Federal Officer carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Improper Entry by an Alien carries a maximum penalty of six months in federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

A complaint is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The United States Border Patrol conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Nathaniel Walters, District of Arizona, Tucson, is handling the prosecution.

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CASE NUMBER:            MJ-22-07776-BGM
RELEASE NUMBER:    2022-191_Garcia-Sales


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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/

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