A 20-year-old Coachella man is under indictment for allegedly trying to run over a U.S. Boarder Patrol agent during a pursuit in early November.
Ivan Nieves could face 20 years in prison if convicted of assault on a federal officer resulting in bodily injury.
A federal grand jury in Riverside last week indicted Nieves on the charge after reviewing allegations related to the defendant’s Nov. 3 encounter
with Border Patrol officers.
Nieves, who’s being held without bail at a federal detention center in
San Bernardino, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Riverside on
Nov. 26 for post-indictment arraignment.
According to court papers, Border Patrol officers were staffing a checkpoint on northbound state Route 86 in Imperial County when Nieves approached in a black older-model Ford Mustang at about 1:30 a.m.
The FBI alleges that Nieves, who had a front seat passenger, sped through the checkpoint, racing north toward the Riverside County line. Agents chased the Mustang and requested assistance, at which point agents from the Indio office headed south in an attempt to intercept the defendant, according to an affidavit the FBI filed in support of the criminal complaint.
Agent Ryan Mitchell and another Border Patrol officer pulled off the highway near Avenue 81, south of Mecca, to deploy a spike strip in the hope of disabling the fleeing vehicle but heard radio reports that agents had lost
sight of the Mustang and were terminating the pursuit, the affidavit says.
Mitchell was in the process of removing the spike strip when he spotted
the Mustang racing north on 86. According to the affidavit, the agent “ran
onto the (east) shoulder, where the Mustang veered towards him in an apparent attempt to run him over.”
Mitchell apparently threw the strip onto the dirt shoulder of the
roadway as he dove for cover, and the Mustang ran over the spikes as it
returned to pavement and raced north. The pull-cord for the spike strip became tangled around Mitchell’s wrist and ankle during the incident, causing a laceration and rope burns, according to court papers.
Less than 10 minutes later, Nieves pulled over but did not surrender
peacefully, allegedly resisting officers as they handcuffed him. A loaded .357
Magnum and a shotgun were found in the Mustang, according to investigators.
The defendant’s passenger was questioned and later released. Mitchell has recovered from his injuries.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Customs & Border Patrol and the FBI. Authorities said Nieves will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Riverside.