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Police, agents capture ‘coyote’
Officers from the Floresville Police Department assist agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection April 10 in the inspection of a vehicle used to transport suspected illegal immigrants. The vehicle was dumped on the campus of the Floresville Alternative Education Center before its passengers fled on foot.
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
FLORESVILLE -- Luck might have run out for a suspected “coyote.” An alleged human smuggler, who Floresville police say slipped from their grasp April 9, was captured here the next day.
Just before 11 p.m. April 9, Patrolman Matthew Redd of the Floresville Police Department was closing the gates at the Floresville River Park on S.H. 97 West when a brown Chevrolet Silverado 2500 pickup truck and a red Chevrolet Suburban sped past him headed east into Floresville. Redd said the female driver of the Suburban then began driving erratically, which he believes was an attempt to distract his attention from the pickup truck.
As Redd closed in, the two vehicles separated. The Silverado -- which was reported stolen from Austin -- turned onto G Street and crossed U.S. 181, while the Suburban proceeded south on U.S. 181 toward Poth. Deputies from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office were unable to locate the Suburban.
The pickup truck continued on G Street and through a pasture located at the end of a private road, before being abandoned in an adjacent pasture. Officers recovered the vehicle approximately 1-1/2 miles east of the intersection of G and 11th streets. Police said the driver and at least five suspected illegal immigrants fled on foot. Redd apprehended one of the vehicle’s occupants at approximately 3 a.m. April 10, at the Whataburger restaurant near the intersection of U.S. 181 and Standish Street.
This was the second such incident in just five days, in which Floresville officers pursued a stolen vehicle containing illegal immigrants. The first pursuit, on April 4, ended in a pasture adjacent to the one where the Silverado was recovered.
These incidents prompted agents from the Cotulla office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to meet April 10 with local officials, including Sgt. Devin Keen of the Floresville Police Department. After concluding their meeting in the Wilson County Criminal Justice Center at approximately 7 p.m., a black 2001 Ford F-150 containing more suspected illegal immigrants passed the agents on U.S. 181. They gave chase, pursuing the truck onto the campus of the Floresville Alternative Education Center on Alternative Lane, located off C.R. 329.
The agents captured the driver, who later was identified as the same driver who eluded officers the night before. Keen and Floresville Patrolman Billy Herrera responded to assist, capturing two additional men in a pasture between the Alternative Center and Bluebonnet Lane. Officers believe that as many as three others escaped.
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