Defendant Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge for the Death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr.

SAN DIEGO, CA—United States Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced the filing of an information and the guilty plea today of an individual involved in the death of Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr. Agent Rosas was shot and killed on July 23, 2009, while he was on a routine patrol near San Diego, Calif. The information charges the defendant with the murder of a federal officer committed in perpetration of a robbery.

According to the plea agreement, Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, age 17, admitted that during the evening of July 23, 2009, he illegally entered the United States for the purpose of robbing a Border Patrol agent of government property. While Agent Rosas was engaged in the performance of his duties, Castro-Alvarez and his co-conspirators lured Agent Rosas out of his vehicle for the purpose of robbing him. During the course of the robbery, Agent Rosas and the defendant struggled over a firearm and Agent Rosas was shot multiple times by the defendant and one or more of the co-conspirators. Agent Rosas died as a result of the shots fired by one or more of the co-conspirators.

The defendant appeared before the Honorable M. James Lorenz, United States District Court Judge, this morning for a motion to transfer proceedings against a juvenile to adult criminal prosecution. He was later arraigned on the information and entered a guilty plea. According to documents submitted in district court in connection with the hearing today, the defendant was a minor at the time the offense was committed and he voluntarily surrendered to the United States to face criminal charges.

“Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was killed in the line of duty bravely protecting our border. Our nation owes him and his family a great debt of gratitude for his ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. Today’s guilty plea is an important step in seeking justice on behalf of Agent Rosas,” said United States Attorney Hewitt.

United States Attorney Hewitt also noted that, “since July 23, 2009, when this tragic incident occurred, federal agents and prosecutors together spent countless hours focused on this investigation. Our work on this case is not yet done, but I want to extend my deep appreciation to all of them for what they have achieved thus far and for their shared commitment to justice. The agents of the FBI San Diego Field Division deserve special thanks for their swift, professional, and comprehensive action in investigating Agent Rosas’ death.”

San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “While the investigation is ongoing, today’s plea marks a significant day in this case. The night Agent Rosas was killed we all lost a brave officer whose mission was to defend our country from threats both domestic and abroad. We recognize the ultimate sacrifice Agent Rosas paid protecting this country. I am proud of the hard work our agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have put into bringing this individual to justice.”

The defendant is scheduled to appear next on Feb. 19, 2010, at 10:30 a.m., before Judge Lorenz for sentencing.

The investigation was assisted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection U.S. Border Patrol, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Pettit and Seth Askins.