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Man Accused Of Killing Border Agent To Appear In Court

— A Mexican national accused of fatally running down a U.S. Border Patrol agent trying to stop suspected drug smugglers in Imperial County two years ago is scheduled to make his first court appearance in San Diego federal court today.

Jesus Navarro-Montez was extradited to the United States to face murder and other charges in the death of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar. He was held in Houston before being shipped to San Diego.

A superseding indictment unsealed last May charges Navarro-Montez with second-degree murder, possession of marijuana and conspiracy.

According to the indictment, Aguilar was on duty Jan. 19, 2008, in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area when the 32-year-old border agent was struck and killed by a Hummer H2 driven by Navarro-Montes.

The indictment further alleges that Navarro-Montes conspired to distribute marijuana, which continued until the day Aguilar -- a father of two -- was killed.

If convicted, Navarro-Montes faces a maximum prison sentence of 40 years on the drug charges and life in prison on the murder charge, authorities said.

Navarro-Montes was first arrested on Jan. 22, 2008, in Sonora, Mexico. He was held in a Mexicali prison until June 2008, when he was released because U.S. authorities did not ask for his extradition, according to Mexican authorities.

The defendant was re-arrested on Feb. 11 near Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Navarro-Montes was indicted last February by another grand jury in San Diego and charged with possession with intent to distribute 980 pounds of marijuana in September 2007.

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