Alpine Man Receives 18-Month Federal Prison Term on Drug Charged and for Threats Against Border Patrol Agent and Family
JUN 24 -- United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in Pecos this afternoon, 30-year-old Jason Christopher Murrell of Alpine, Texas, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for drug possession and threatening to assault the Border Patrol agent who detained him as well as his family. United States District Judge Robert
A. Junell also ordered that Murrell pay a $5,000 fine.
On March 11, 2010, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Murrell with one count each of possession of marijuana; impeding a Border Patrol agent; threatening to assault a Border Patrol agent; and, threatening to assault the family of a Border Patrol agent. According to testimony and evidence presented during trial, on the morning of December 23, 2009, Murrell entered the Border Patrol checkpoint located on Highway 118 south of Alpine. A canine subsequently alerted on Murrell’s vehicle. A Border Patrol agent instructed Murrell to go to the secondary inspection area. Murrell refused and remained in his car for approximately 45 minutes all the while blocking the primary inspection lane. For safety reasons, Border Patrol agents have to divert traffic around the checkpoint. Murrell did eventually exit the vehicle, but only after requested to do so by Brewster County Sheriff’s deputies. During a search of Murrell, authorities found approximately .02 kilograms of marijuana as well as a pipe containing marijuana residue.
Other evidence submitted to the jury during the trial included: a video of verbal exchanges between Murrell and Border Patrol agents which Murrell recorded during the time he remained inside his vehicle; and, audio recordings of phone calls made by Murrell while in custody pending trial. Those recordings captured Murrell making verbal threats to assault the Border Patrol agent who detained him as well the Border Patrol agent’s family.
On March 17, 2010, after the government rested its case during the trial, Murrell pleaded guilty to all of the charges contained in the superseding indictment.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Layton Duer prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.