Complaint: Man coughed in port officer’s face, made her think he had COVID-19

A Nogales man is accused of assaulting a local U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer by coughing in her face and making her think he had the coronavirus.

According to a complaint filed at U.S. District Court in Tucson, the officer was inspecting a vehicle driven by 25-year-old Danilo Cardenas Leyva on April 7 when he coughed directly in her face.

When she asked him why he did it, he allegedly replied: “It does not matter, you guys are already sick. It is all over the news in Mexico that you guys have the coronavirus.”

When the officer asked Cardenas if he was sick, he reportedly said that it didn’t matter, “and you are sick, too.”

The incident caused the officer to fear that she had been infected with the coronavirus, according to the complaint, which was filed on April 22.

On April 6, CBP posted statistics to its website showing that three of its Nogales-based employees had tested positive for coronavirus. However, the agency did not specify at the time if the employees worked at the ports of entry or the Nogales Border Patrol Station.

However, the Arizona Daily Star, which first reported the complaint against Cardenas on Wednesday, cited a CBP spokeswoman as saying there had been no positive COVID-19 cases at the Port of Nogales.

Woman gets two convictions from meth-smuggling try

On June 12, 2018, a passenger on a shuttle van was busted at the Border Patrol’s checkpoint on Interstate 19 with 305 grams (0.67 pounds) of methamphetamine hidden in her pants.

According to a complaint filed at federal court, the suspect, Daniela Vasquez of Tucson, reportedly waived her Miranda rights and told an investigator that a female friend had introduced her to drug-smuggling, and that she was supposed to deliver the drugs to Tucson.

However, Vasquez apparently failed to mention that she still had two packages of meth hidden in her bra.

So when she was taken to the Santa Cruz County Jail to be held on the federal drug-smuggling charge, a strip search turned up the two remaining packages, which contained another 53 grams (0.12 pounds) of meth.

That discovery resulted in an additional state charge of promoting prison contraband.

In June 2019, Vasquez was convicted at U.S. District Court in Tucson on one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and sentenced to 13 months in prison, followed by five years of probation.

On April 27, Vasquez, now 20, was sentenced at Santa Cruz County Superior Court to two years of probation, including 100 hours of community service, for a Class 3 felony conviction for attempting to bring drugs into the jail.

NPD accepts grant to purchase two drones

The Nogales Police Department is set to purchase a pair of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, after receiving a grant from the Tohono O’Odham nation.

The $12,450 grant was approved at an April 1 council meeting and will be used to cover the cost of two drones, three pilot licenses and accident measuring software, according to City Manager Eddie Johnson.

“What it will allow us to do… is to do better accident investigations from the air, quicker response times. And with aerial photos, a lot quicker, probably a lot more accurate,” Johnson said, citing information from NPD Lt. Robert Thompson. “And with the accident measuring software, to actually figure out the causes and effects of the accident a lot better.”

The council approved the grant without any dissenting votes.

In response to the NI’s questions about the size and specific model of drone that the department would buy, when they would go into use and whether there would be any limitations on the vehicles’ use, NPD Cpl. Oscar Mesta responded: “unknown as of yet.”

Mesta asked for all questions to be put in writing and didn’t directly answer a question about whether the vehicles would be used for regular patrols, except to say that, “As of now, the primary use is intended for traffic accident and crime scenes investigations.”

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