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Encinal police officers continue the search for a Houston man after he led law enforcement on a short pursuit and absconded into the brush with three of 17 undocumented immigrants last week.
Police say officers attempted to stop the driver of a white Dodge pickup truck after he failed to yield at a traffic sign along Highway 44 in downtown Encinal on Saturday, May 7.
The driver, later identified as 31-year-old Gustavo Zavala, accelerated away from the traffic stop but was then halted at the railroad line after traveling a few miles.
Zavala and three of his passengers jumped from the vehicle and scattered in different directions into the thick brush, according to a report on the case.
Investigating officers were able to identify Zavala when his wallet was found during a search of the vehicle.
“We were able to find 14 undocumented immigrants,” Lieutenant Angel Esparza said this week. “One of them was a male child under the age of 12.”
According to the police report, a total of ten adult males, one child and three young females were immediately rescued from the abandoned pickup truck and received aid from Encinal police officers and members of the La Salle County Fire Rescue Station 2.
“These people have endured triple-digit temperatures,” the police lieutenant said. “That day it was 112 degrees.”
Zavala is the registered owner of the Dodge and faces a number of criminal charges.
The undocumented immigrants were taken into custody by Border Patrol agents at the scene.