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Alpine Border Patrol Agent Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Jesus Salgado Nanez (Brewster County Jail)

This story has been updated to reflect that the assaults allegedly took place in March and December of 2015, not only in March, as indicated previously. It has also been updated to include new information from Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent based in Alpine, Texas was arrested last week on sexual assault charges.

Agent Jesus Salgado Nanez was arrested by a Brewster County Sheriff's deputy at the Alpine Station of the Border Patrol's Big Bend Sector, where Nanez has worked since May of 2010. He's charged with two counts of second degree felony sexual assault.

According to arrest warrants, the assaults allegedly took place in March and December of 2015. The Alpine Avalanche first reported the arrest on Thursday.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said authorities were not aware of the incidents until an unnamed female victim came forward just days before the arrest was made on June 3.

"What the victim had really caused us to get on it, get after it, get it done," he said Friday afternoon. "We don't want any more repercussions for her safety."

Border Patrol Spokesperson Bill Brooks said Nanez has been placed on administrative duties, meaning his gun and badge have been removed while he performs office duties. He was booked into the Brewster County Jail on June 3, and according to the Avalanche, released on June 5 on two $10,000 bonds.

Brooks would not discuss the internal protocol for handling an agent accused of a crime, saying in this situation the Border Patrol is only obligated to release an agent’s employment status, place of employment and length of employment.

Citing an ongoing investigation, the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office said it is not currently releasing an arrest affidavit in the case. Brooks said the Border Patrol will cooperate with the investigation.

Sheriff Dodson said as the investigation into the sexual assault charges continues, authorities are also looking into what he described as evidence on "electronic devices" that "might indicate another crime." Dodson did not say what the nature of any such crime may be.

Dodson said it is not believed the sexual assaults occurred while Nanez was on-duty, but that Nanez was arrested at the Border Patrol's Alpine Station so that his gun and credentials could be turned over and the situation could be handled by Border Patrol authorities.

"When the warrants were got, he just went on duty, and of course he was a K-9 handler," Dodson said. "I don't wanna arrest him and have to deal with his dog - it was just a lot better to have his superiors take him in."

Dodson said he expects to have more details on the investigation into possible new charges in the days ahead, when evidence returns from a crime lab.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.