Fifty One Month Jail Term For Smuggler Who Assaulted Border Agent

TUCSON, Ariz. – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Natalie Couch, 36, of Tucson, was sentenced here today by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to 51 months in federal prison. Couch pleaded guilty on May 8, 2007, to one count of Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens for Profit and two counts of Assault on a Federal Officer with a Deadly Weapon.

Couch was arrested on April 16, 2006, with her co-defendant Andrew Gerard Jose. Jose had previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens for Profit and was sentenced on January 23, 2007, to 16 months in prison for his role in the crime. At the time of their arrest, Couch was driving a Nissan Maxima and Jose was the front seat passenger. There were also five illegal aliens in the car.

The vehicle was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol Agents on State Route 86 in Tucson. While trying to apprehend the driver, a 19-year veteran U.S. Border Patrol Agent was pulled into the vehicle by Couch and dragged approximately 100 feet before being thrown into the opposite lane of traffic. Then Couch drove the vehicle toward another U.S. Border Patrol Agent before the vehicle came to a stop and got stuck off-road in a wash. The agent dragged by the car sustained minor injuries.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol. The prosecution was handled by Irene C. Feldman, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2007-216(Couch)

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