Marfa, Texas - On March 31, it took a jury only 45 minutes of deliberation to convict Juan Jose Guerra of a second-degree felony charge of possession of a criminal instrument with the intent to commit aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. On April 1, Guerra was sentenced to 20 years in prison, the maximum for the charges he faced.
But for the vigilance of Border Patrol Agent Rene del Villar, however, the charges could have been much more serious and the safety of a young woman could have been at stake.
Del Villar is assigned to the Midland, Texas, station of the Marfa sector.
On April 28 of last year, del Villar and his wife, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, were returning from dinner. Del Villar was off duty at the time. As he dropped his wife off at her office to pick up a vehicle, he noticed a vehicle driving slowly past a dance studio and church in a "kid heavy" section of Midland. Del Villar was immediately suspicious of the lone male occupant of the vehicle and continued to follow and observe his actions.
In the meantime, del Villar's wife was notifying a co-worker who was at the ICE office in the vicinity. That agent used his vehicle to pull over Guerra while del Villar backed him up. Eventually, they were joined by officers of the Midland Police Department.
When they stopped the vehicle, they discovered Guerra had a "rape kit." He had pre-cut duct tape stuck on his clothes, along with a condom, personal lubricant, Viagra and plastic flexicuffs. He also had a day planner that included the name of a 14-year old Midland girl. He had two pistols, a stun gun and a pipe in his possession as well.
Guerra is a 49-year-old engineer from Big Spring, Texas. When police searched his home they found over 3,000 child pornography images on his computer.
"It was gratifying to meet the little girl he had targeted," said del Villar. "Just to see her and know she was safe. She told us 'Thank you for saving my life.'"
"It is likely that this case would have had a tragic ending were in not for Rene del Villar," said Chief Patrol Agent John J. Smietana, Jr. "His vigilance and dedication to the safety of others is a credit to him and his family and to the United States Border Patrol."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.