NOGALES, AZ – On the evening of Oct. 14, 2015, a customs officer was working at an inbound traffic lane at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry when she heard a scuffle approximately 15 feet away, court records show.
The officer then heard a man shout that someone had punched him and stolen his bicycle.
The assailant was subsequently detained when he tried to cross into the United States through the port while riding a bicycle. He was identified as Jorge Andres Tolano and taken into custody by Nogales Police Department officers.
After pleading guilty to a Class 5 felony count of robbery, Tolano, a 27-year-old Rio Rico resident, was sentenced Aug. 1 at Santa Cruz County Superior Court by Judge Anna Montoya-Paez to 1.5 years in prison, with credit for 194 days already served.
At the time of his detention, Tolano was reportedly sweating profusely and claiming that a Mexican cartel was after him to kill him. He also told a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer that the owner of the bicycle made hand gestures at him as if he were going to shoot him.
He told a probation officer a similar story during a pre-sentence interview on July 26, though this time he said the owner of the bicycle was making gestures as if he were going to hit Tolano, so he hit him first. When the bike owner started running toward Mexico, he said, he ran after him but then turned around and headed back toward the United States, grabbing the bicycle on the way.
According to his case file, Tolano denied using illegal drugs, yet tested positive for methamphetamine on the day he was arrested.