Border agent admits having illegal assault weapon in truck

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VISTA, Calif. — A Border Patrol agent who was arrested while he was off duty after Oceanside police officers found him asleep in his truck with an illegal rifle pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of unlawful possession of an assault weapon.

Brandon James Herrera, 37, will be sentenced Aug. 20 at the Vista Courthouse.

Herrera was arrested April 8 around 8:45 a.m. outside an apartment complex at Los Arbolitos Boulevard and Fredricks Avenue. Oceanside police spokesman Tom Bussey said officers contacted Herrera because he matched the description of a suspicious man in his 30s who was reportedly loitering near a trash bin at the complex on April 2. His Ford pickup also matched the suspect’s vehicle description.

As officers took him into custody, Herrera identified himself as a Border Patrol agent, Bussey said.

During a search of Herrera and his vehicle, officers found about five grams of suspected heroin and a short-barrel rifle, Bussey said.

Prior to making contact with Herrera, officers did not know the person they were looking for was a federal agent, he said.

A caller reported a suspicious person and vehicle near a complex trash bin on April 2, but officers were unable to find that person or his vehicle that day.

Officers returned to the complex at least one other time the week before Herrera’s arrest to search for the person and returned a third time the morning of April 8, when they found Herrera asleep in the truck.

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