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Driver who coughed in face of Nogales customs officer faces assault charge

Driver who coughed in face of Nogales customs officer faces assault charge

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A driver accused of coughing in the face of a customs officer in Nogales and saying “you are sick, too” with the coronavirus now faces an assault charge.

Danilo Cardenas Leyva, a U.S. citizen in his mid-20s, is accused of coughing directly into the face of a customs officer as he drove into the United States on April 7, according to a criminal complaint filed April 22 in federal court in Tucson.

The officer asked Cardenas why he coughed in her face. He replied that “it does not matter, you guys are already sick. It is all over the news in Mexico that you guys have the coronavirus,” according to a court document.

When the officer asked Cardenas if he was sick, he reportedly said that it did not matter and “you are sick, too.”

Cardenas’ actions caused the officer to fear she had been infected with the coronavirus, according to the complaint.

Cardenas faces a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a federal officer by coughing in her face and implying he was infected with the coronavirus, thereby putting her in fear of imminent injury, according to the complaint.

The public affairs office for Customs and Border Protection in Arizona did not say whether the customs officer or Cardenas were tested for the coronavirus.

Edith Serrano, a CBP spokeswoman, said there have been no positive COVID-19 cases at the Port of Nogales.

In Arizona, six CBP employees had tested positive for the coronavirus as of May 5, according to the CBP website. Three work in Nogales and three in Tucson. The agency did not provide details on whether they worked as customs officers, Border Patrol agents or in some other capacity.

The agency has not reported any new cases in Arizona since early April. Across the country, 330 CBP employees had tested positive for the coronavirus as of May 5, up from 160 in early April. CBP had more than 61,000 employees in 2019.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or cprendergast@tucson.com or on Twitter:

@CurtTucsonStar.

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