3 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct where the accountability status is “Under Judicial Review”

November 30, 2022

The Department of Justice reported the indictment of Aaron Mitchell, 27, on “three counts: a civil rights violation for sexually assaulting and kidnapping a minor victim, kidnapping a minor victim, and misleading state investigators.” (Original link) The Department’s statement, and prosecutors’ November 10 brief opposing Mitchell’s release from pretrial detention, identified Mitchell as being “employed as a Customs and Border Patrol Officer (CBPO)”—which most likely means an officer of CBP’s Office of Field Operations.

On April 25, 2022, Mitchell allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl in Arizona. (Original link) The victim, a citizen of Mexico, was on her way to school in Arizona.

Mitchell, wearing police attire, told the girl he was a police officer and asked to see her documents. After she complied, Mitchell ordered her to get in his car, saying they needed to go to the police station. But Mitchell did not drive her to the police station—he drove her an hour away to his apartment.

After finishing an in-custody interview with Mitchell, Douglas, Arizona police left their video recording equipment on. According to the prosecution’s document, “That video recorder caught Mitchell muttering to himself, ‘I cannot believe this s—. F—ing little b——. B—— is claiming rape. That’s so f—ing crazy. That’s crazy, man. She better hope I don’t get out of here.’”

Mitchell had served as a CBP officer for 10 months at the time of his arrest.

— U.S. Department of Justice. “Former Customs and Border Protection Agent Indicted for Federal Civil Rights Violation for Sexually Assaulting and Kidnapping a Minor,” November 30, 2022. <https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-customs-and-border-protection-agent-indicted-federal-civil-rights-violation-sexually>.

— Restaino, Gary M., Christina M. Cabanillas, Carin C. Duryee, Kristen Clarke, Erin H. Flynn, and Brant S. Levine. “U.S. v. Mitchell No. 22-10268.” U.S. Department of Justice, November 10, 2022. <https://www.justice.gov/crt/case-document/file/1551906/download>.

— Siemaszko, Corky. “Former CBP Agent Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Minor Was Caught on Video Threatening His Accuser.” NBC News, December 7, 2022. <https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/former-cbp-agent-accused-sexually-assaulting-minor-was-caught-video-th-rcna60222>.

Sector(s): Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Abuse of Minor, Sexual Assault or Harassment, Threat of Violence, Unethical Off-Duty Behavior

Last Known Accountability Status: Criminal Charges Pending, Under Judicial Review

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Female, Mexico, Sexual Abuse Victim

April 24, 2021

Francisco Javier Vallejo, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, struck a bicyclist with his car and fled the scene. The cyclist, Humberto Torres Iracheta, 71, was found dead, face down in the roadway.

Vallejo eventually informed his CBP supervisors that he had hit a cyclist. The Rio Grande Valley Monitor reported, “It’s unclear, however, how long it took Vallejo to report the collision.” Vallejo was arrested, the Monitor continued, “and charged with accident involving death, a second-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Vallejo was released the following day on a $100,000 bond.”

— Valerie Gonzalez and Mark Reagan, “Border Patrol agent fled deadly collision with bicyclist; later reported the death” (Hidalgo: MyRGV News, April 26, 2021) https://myrgv.com/local-news/2021/04/26/border-patrol-agent-fled-deadly-collision-with-bicyclist-later-reported-the-death/.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Unethical Off-Duty Behavior

Last Known Accountability Status: Under Judicial Review, Under OPR Investigation

Victim Classification: U.S. Citizen or Resident

November 18, 2020

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expelled to Guatemala 32 unaccompanied children who had been encountered at the border. The expulsion came hours after U.S. Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered a halt to the Trump administration’s practice of expelling unaccompanied children under the Title 42 pandemic order.

On January 19, 2021—the Trump administration’s final day—DHS officials recognized before the court that the expulsion violated Judge Sullivan’s order, “adding that they will begin the process of getting the group back to apply for asylum,” BuzzFeed reported.

— Hamed Aleaziz, “US Officials Admitted They Violated A Court Order When They Expelled 32 Immigrant Children To Guatemala” (United States: BuzzFeed, January 19, 2021) https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/us-officials-violated-court-order-immigrant-children.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS, ICE

Event Type(s): Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor, Inappropriate Deportation, Violation of Court Order

Last Known Accountability Status: Under Judicial Review

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Unaccompanied Child