51-year-old Mexican man sentenced to 90 months for ramming BP vehicles in 'cloned' construction truck

A 51-year-old man was sentenced to 90 months in prison for ramming two Border Patrol vehicles during 2020 incident near Douglas, Ariz., while attempting to smuggle several people using a cloned construction vehicle.

Jorge Zazueta-Miranda, a resident of Agua Prieta, Sonora, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Márquez during a hearing on Dec. 21.

Zazueta-Miranda’s sentence is slated to run consecutively with a previous conviction of illegal re-entry after he crossed into the U.S. in 2017 and another sentence from New Mexico, said Zach J. Stoebe, a Justice Department spokesman. Márquez also sentenced Zazueta-Miranda to three years probation and a $100 fine.

According to court records, Zazueta-Miranda pleaded guilty in June to assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.

The incident began around 2 p.m. on April 1, 2020, when two Border Patrol agents — Obed Valdivia and
Jesus Samuel Padilla — were radioed about two yellow trucks painted with a construction company logos.

For years, smugglers have “cloned” FedEx vans, fire department trucks,
and construction vehicles in an attempt to bypass Border Patrol agents. In 2020, Southwest Valley Constructors was one of several contractors
who quickly erected dozens of miles of 30-foot-high “bollards” along the
border near Douglas as part of the Trump administration’s headlong drive to build a
barrier along much of the Arizona-Mexico border— including carving their way past the historic Slaughter Ranch and San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.

Border Patrol agents stopped one truck and found 19 undocumented non-citizens inside. However, Zazueta-Miranda refused to stop and instead drove at high speeds through the city of Douglas to the airport, before continuing along the border road to a rugged desert area, Stoebe said. 

Both agents “positioned their vehicles to intercept” Zazueta-Miranda’s truck near
a rise they called Monument Hill, according to court records. After he reached the hill, Zazueta-Miranda tried
to avoid one vehicle and then collided with Valdivia, hitting his rear
driver’s side quarter panel. “Zazueta-Miranda backed up and then drove towards a break in the U.S. border wall, striking a second agent’s vehicle,” Stoebe said.

According to court records, “the collision brought both vehicles to a

Valdivia got out of his vehicle and
approached the construction truck. Meanwhile, Zazueta-Miranda and several passengers
abandoned the vehicle and ran into Mexico through a break in the wall.

Padilla said Zazueta-Miranda “appeared to point” a small-caliber pistol at him so he fired a shot, but missed hitting anyone.

Agents recovered a latent print from the driver’s side door belonging to
Zazueta-Miranda, said Stoebe. One witness, abandoned in the second cloned
construction truck, identified Zazueta-Miranda in a photo and said he was driving the vehicle that collided with the agents.

Federal officials issued a warrant for Zazueta-Miranda under the name Jorge Campuzano-Miranda. Almost two years later, on
February 9, 2022, he was arrested near Las Cruces New Mexico after being
caught near the New Mexico-Mexico border, Stoebe said.

A few months later, federal prosecutors filed three charges against Zazueta-Miranda, including two counts of assault on a federal agent enhanced by illegal re-entry for attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas.

In June, Zazueta-Miranda agreed to plead guilty to one count of assaulting a federal officer. In the agreement, Zazueta-Miranda said he “knowingly and forcibly” assaulted Valdivia by ramming the agent’s vehicle.

“I submit that driving my truck and crashing it into the agent’s vehicle made my vehicle a dangerous weapon,” Zazueta-Miranda said, according to court records. “I drove my vehicle into the agent’s vehicle as I was fleeing from arrest,” while transporting people in the country without authorization.

The FBI’s Sierra Vista field office, with help from Border Patrol investigated the case, Stoebe said. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Serra M. Tsethlikai and Evan N. Wesley, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.