Two men have been arrested in the kidnapping, beating and mutilation of an off-duty Border Patrol Agent that involves a multi-agency investigation spanning state-lines.
Doña Ana County Sheriff’s officials confirm that Sergio Ivan Vanegas-Quinonez and Fernando Puga have both been charged with the crime after the off-duty agent was found beaten with two of his fingers cut off on Paradise Lane and Shalem Colony Trail northwest of Las Cruces around 11:40 p.m. Friday, June 9.
According to court documents, the agent was helping his mother pack up her tamale stand at the intersection of Stan Roberts and McCombs in Northeast El Paso Friday evening. That’s when Vanegas-Quinonez and Puga approached the agent and told him that their car had broken down at some point convinced him that they needed a ride. It’s unclear in court documents whether the agent felt threatened or if he intended to help them.
What is clear in the court documents is that the agent reportedly spotted the gun in the waistband of one of the men and told his mom that he was just going to drop them off at the gas station.
Shortly after getting in the car, the men pulled out a gun and a machete on him. They drove the agent to a water canal in New Mexico and one of the men told him he was “going to do whatever they wanted him to do.” The agent says that he saw an opportunity to fight the two and tried to get the gun away from one of the men.
During the altercation, the second man began swinging the machete at the agent. During the attack he sustained serious cuts to his hands, shoulder and head. The agent had two fingers on his right hand that had to be partially amputated, a hemorrhage to his head, hand and arm fractures and multiple cuts to his chest. Court documents state that the agent had lost a significant amount of blood in the attack.
Court documents show that as the kidnapping and attack were underway, the agent’s mother, who had been left at her tamale stand in Northeast El Paso, repeatedly tried calling him and he didn’t answer. Eventually they used a Find my iPhone app and pinged the phone to an area off of I-10 near Mesquite. Court documents do not indicate whether investigators were able to locate his phone after the attack.
In a separate attack, a woman in Chaparral called for police around 9 p.m. in the 100 block of Amparo in Chaparral where Vanegas-Quinonez’s ex-girlfriend called to report that he’d been at her home with a gun. Her sister reported spotted an older-model red Nissan which was the same vehicle the off-duty agent drove and had been abducted in.
Court documents do not indicate whether the Border Patrol agent was in the car during the domestic disturbance in Chaparral or if he’d already been dumped in Las Cruces.
Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputies later located the agent’s car across the New Mexico state line on McCombs, near the location of the tamale stand he was taken from.
The agent is still in critical condition at UMC.
Puga was taken into custody late Thursday night in Doña Ana County where he is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder he is being held on a $1 million cash bond.
Vanegas-Quinonez was arrested in El Paso on Tuesday on an outstanding warrant of aggravated battery and aggravated assault. He is now awaiting extradition to Doña Ana County to face charges.
*Fernando Puga’s mugshot is attached in the story. Vanegas-Quinonez’s mugshot has not yet been released.