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Man held in agent's slaying

February 12, 2009|Richard Marosi

SAN DIEGO — A Mexican man wanted in connection with the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year has been arrested in Mexico and is being held pending extradition, according to U.S. federal authorities.

This is the second time Mexican authorities have arrested Jesus Navarro Montes, a 23-year-old alleged drug smuggler who U.S. officials suspect drove a sport utility vehicle that ran over agent Luis Aguilar at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Imperial County on Jan. 19, 2008.

After an intense, three-day manhunt, Navarro was captured in Mexicali, but Mexican authorities released him last June, drawing criticism from U.S. officials. The Mexican government said U.S. officials had not submitted a formal extradition request.

Navarro was rearrested Wednesday morning by Mexican federal agents at the Mexican resort town of Zihuatanejo, in coordination with the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, according to an FBI news release.

Navarro faces unspecified drug charges and is wanted for questioning about the slaying, according to the news release.

Aguilar, a six-year veteran, was killed while trying to stop two vehicles that had entered illegally from Mexico and were believed to be carrying drugs. After Aguilar threw a spike strip in front of the vehicles, one of the vehicles, a Hummer, struck Aguilar and escaped over the dunes to Mexico.

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richard.marosi@latimes.com

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