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Reckless drug smuggler plunges vehicle into Rio Grande

Release Date: 
July 29, 2016

HARLINGEN, Texas – In an attempt to evade Border Patrol agents, a drug smuggler recklessly drove his vehicle into the Rio Grande on Wednesday.

Van loaded with marijuana being removed from the Rio Grande
Van loaded with marijuana being
removed from the Rio Grande

“These drug smugglers are not only endangering our communities with narcotics, but also with the tactics they are using to evade law enforcement,” said Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. “Fortunately, no innocent bystanders were injured by this smuggler’s recklessness.”

The incident occurred when Harlingen agents observed a marijuana laden minivan driving away from the river. As additional agents approached, the driver of the vehicle made a U-turn and sped back south ― plunging his vehicle into the Rio Grande. Agents approached the river bank, assisted the driver out of the water and placed him under arrest.  The vehicle was later extracted from the water and found to be loaded with eight bundles of marijuana that weighed approximately 1,000 pounds., valued at over $800,000.

The San Benito Fire Department assisted in efforts and removed the vehicle from the river.

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and to help save lives by reporting suspicious activity at 800-863-9382.

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Last modified: 
February 3, 2021