Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another day, another chase (Seguin Gazette Enterprise)

Another day, another chase
POLICE: SUV may have been carrying illegal immigrants when it took off, smashed through Silver Wolf Ranch fence
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:53 pm, Sat May 21, 2011.
Felicia Frazar

SEGUIN - Local law enforcement agencies were on the hunt again Friday morning, searching for a number of men who bailed out of an SUV.

Seguin Police Lt. Jim Boeck said the event started around 10:30 a.m. when Cpl. Jules Olvera attempted to pull over a 1994 Isuzu Trooper eastbound on Interstate 10 for a traffic violation.

The vehicle drove down IH 10 and took exit 617 at FM 2438. It drove down the access road, blew through the intersection and climbed back on to the highway, Boeck said. Less than a quarter mile down the road the Trooper tried to lose the officer by leaving the road again, this time by means of an unpaved path, Olvera said.

"They drove up a steep, grassy embankment, nearly rolling the vehicle in the process," he said.

The officer followed the path on foot only to find the SUV stopped just on the other side of the hill - after it busted though the Silver Wolf Ranch fence.

Olvera met with the security guards, who told him that four, possibly five men escaped the vehicle and may have had weapons, Boeck said.

"One of the guards said one of the occupants reached in their waist band and he thought he saw a gun," Boeck said.

This promoted a multi-agency search of the large ranch and the surrounding area.

Aiding in the search were deputies from the Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and investigators for the District Attorney and County Attorney's offices, Boeck said.

Because of the weather conditions and maintenance issues, helicopters were not able to launch to aid in the search, Boeck said.

After about two hours of searching, officers were unable to locate any suspects.

Boeck said the SUV may have been transporting illegal immigrants.

Officers are in the process of trying to track down the vehicle's current owner.

This is the second incident in as many days where officers were involved in a pursuit and search for possible illegal immigrants.

On Thursday, Seguin Police K9 Officer Mark Zuazua attempted to pull over a 2004 Chevy pickup on IH 10, they led him on a chase into Kingsbury.

That adventure ended on Gravel Pit Road with the apprehension of 7 suspected illegal immigrants and another possible 10 who escaped.

Those captured were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, Boeck said.

Occurrences, like the ones officers have seen this week, don't have a consistent pattern, Boeck said.

"It fluctuates - for a while we had once or twice a week and then we had nothing until now," he said. "I don't know if something is going on that would cause the increases and decreases."

Two of the main roads that run through Seguin are very appealing to traffickers, Boeck said.

"IH10 and Highway 90 are pretty popular for smugglers," he said. "They are major thoroughfares that connect to the border. They hit IH 10 or IH 35 and head east."

According to the Department of Homeland Security website, in 2009 ICE detained just over 380,000 foreign nationals and 390,000 were removed from the country.

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