Four illegal aliens from Mexico who claimed they were robbed at gunpoint by American citizens patrolling a private ranch in Texas have dropped their lawsuit against the owner of the property.

Marvin Rader, an attorney for Jim Hogg County rancher Joe Sutton, told WorldNetDaily the four had dropped the suit “without prejudice,” meaning they could reinstate it at a later date. He said Southern Poverty Law Center lawyers who are handling the Mexicans’ case did not give a reason for dropping the suit.

View of the Sutton property near where six illegal aliens were intercepted in March. [Jon Dougherty/WND Photo]

Neither SPLC lawyers nor those for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which was also representing the Mexicans, returned phone calls seeking comment.

Though the four Mexican nationals dropped out of the suit, Rader said an El Salvador couple – a man and woman – remain part of the same suit.

The Salvadoran pair claims Sutton and members of Ranch Rescue, a civilian group that protects private property from illegal aliens and other threats at the request of landowners, beat them, held them at gunpoint and threatened their lives. According to the SPLC, the pair is seeking monetary damages.

As WorldNetDaily reported, two members of Ranch Rescue – Casey Nethercott and Hank Conner – were arrested by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer March 20 and charged with two felony counts each of aggravated assault with a weapon and two counts each of unlawful restraint for allegedly pistol-whipping and detaining the Salvadorans.

Jack Foote, national spokesman for Ranch Rescue, told WorldNetDaily the charges against Conner have been dropped, but not against Nethercott.

Sutton says he and some ranch hands intercepted the Mexicans as they made their way across his property near Hebbronville in March.

The four illegals, who were traveling with one minor child, claimed Sutton had stolen $3,000 in cash from them, made them walk 12 miles through rough terrain to a highway for pickup, and that he threatened to kill them at gunpoint – all charges he calls “bogus.”

The Salvadorans were intercepted a few days later. Their capture and handling was witnessed by a French photojournalist, Eric Boye, covering American border issues for Gamma News Service. He later told authorities the illegals were not mistreated.

Texas Ranger Sgt. Doyle Holdridge told WorldNetDaily in March the Salvadoran couple, described as being in their mid-20s, bore some visible physical signs of injury. He said after Nethercott and Conner were apprehended, the Salvadoran couple picked the men out of a photo array.

Foote, who was also involved in intercepting the Salvadorans, said they were treated well and were “never touched … except to pat them down and search them for weapons.”

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