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Updated Jun 2, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Unarmed smuggler killed by Arizona border agent

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Tucson man suspected of smuggling drugs through a southern Arizona checkpoint wasn't armed when he was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, authorities said Monday.

The Pima County Sheriff's Office is investigating Friday's shooting near Interstate 19 in Green Valley after Jose Luis Arambula failed to yield to a traffic stop and then led agents on a 15-mile chase.

Authorities said Arambula's vehicle got stuck on a golf course with three agents on the scene, and that started a foot chase that lasted about a quarter-mile.

Arambula started to raise his arms in a way that agents described as ``punching out,'' prompting one of the agents to open fire, sheriff's officials said at a news conference Monday. ``Punching out'' is described as a motion someone would make if they were holding a gun with two hands, said Lt. David Theel, head of the department's violent crimes investigations division.

Agent Daniel Marquez fired his service weapon nine times at Arambula from about 70 feet away, according to sheriff's investigators.

Arambula, 31, was struck once in the head and died at the scene.

Agents said a search of Arambula's vehicle turned up 21 bales of marijuana that weighed nearly 500 pounds.

Arambula had been arrested on drug-related charges in April, authorities said, but details weren't immediately available Monday.

The shooting occurred the same day the Border Patrol's parent agency released a critical report amid complaints about excessive force.

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