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Fleeing Smuggler Endangers 16-Year-Old and Others

Release Date: 
February 12, 2020

PINE VALLEY, Calif.—San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents arrested who was transporting five illegal aliens, including a teen, after fleeing the Pine Valley immigration checkpoint Tuesday morning.


At approximately 10:45 a.m., on February 11, a man driving a 2001 Mercedes sedan approached the Interstate 8 westbound checkpoint with five passengers.  Agents referred his vehicle to secondary inspection for further examination. 


The driver appeared to comply and drove towards the secondary inspection area but abruptly turned back toward the highway and absconded at a high rate of speed.  An agent in the primary inspection area quickly deployed a vehicle immobilization device and successfully deflated two tires on the fleeing car.


The 39-year-old U.S. citizen driver was not deterred and drove erratically westbound on Interstate 8 with the two flatten tires.  Agents pursued the vehicle, then witnessed the sedan slide off the freeway and onto the I-8 center median east of the Pine Valley Road Exit.  The five passengers immediately fled on foot into the surrounding brush.


An agent quickly approached the driver who had remained in the vehicle.  The agent observed the man inject himself with a syringe that contained a black substance, which was later identified as heroin.  The agent ordered the driver to slowly remove the needle and exit the vehicle.  The man complied and was handcuffed by the agent then placed under arrest.


Agents searched and located the five people who had fled into the nearby brush.  The group included two men, two females, and a 16-year-old boy.  All admitted to being Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S.


The five people sustained no injuries during the incident and were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station to be processed for removal. 


“This is another example of the dangerous acts human smugglers perform for financial gain and how they show no regard for human life,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.  “Fortunately, this pursuit came to a safe conclusion and ended with the driver in custody.”


The driver faces alien smuggling charges and is currently in Federal custody undergoing medically monitored detox at a local facility.


To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders.  To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.


Last modified: 
February 12, 2020