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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Three Men Connected to Child Sex Abuse Cases Arrested at Border

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisor stands along the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Sasabe, Arizona. | Image by Rebecca Noble/Reuters

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Three men connected to child sex abuse cases in the U.S. were arrested by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the Texas-Mexico border within the past week.

Agents arrested Mexican nationals Martin Hernandez-Palma and Misael Gonzalez-Gonzalez, as well as Indiana native Jose Luis Armendariz, along the border while they were attempting to re-enter the U.S.

Agents assigned to the Del Rio Sector arrested Hernandez-Palma, 49, on July 9. Hernandez-Palma and 11 other individuals were traveling through local ranches when agents apprehended them. All 12 admitted to having entered the country unlawfully by crossing the Rio Grande River.

During processing, records showed that Hernandez-Palma was convicted in 2014 of forced lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 in California. He was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison and deported in 2020.

Uvalde Border Patrol agents apprehended Gonzalez-Gonzalez, 50, near Uvalde before transporting him to Eagle Pass’ soft-side facility for processing.

Agents discovered that Gonzalez-Gonzalez had been convicted of sexual abuse of the first degree in Portland. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison in 2002 and was deported.

He returned at some point and was again removed from the U.S. recently, just three months ago.

Hernandez-Palma and Gonzalez-Gonzalez now face sentences of up to 20 years in prison due to their records of previous removals.

A CBP officer detained Armendariz, 39, after he arrived from Mexico at the Hidalgo International Bridge on July 12. The officer had discovered that Armendariz was a possible match to an arrest warrant. The man’s identity was confirmed through a biometric verification process, and his link to the outstanding warrant from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office was established.

Hidalgo authorities obtained the warrant after Armendariz is alleged to have engaged in an indecent act with a child/sexual contact — a second-degree felony in Texas — in June. CBP said a Hidalgo County deputy took custody of Armendariz and transported him to the jail.

“CBP is committed to bringing those wanted individuals in to face their day in court, especially those relating to sexual crimes against children,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.

CBP added that Del Rio Sector agents apprehended over 1,500 criminals along the border from October 1 through May 31.    

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