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Police officers in Encinal have effected six traffic stops over a three-day period that resulted in a series of felony arrests and the capture of at least two dozen undocumented immigrants.
Two recent cases stand out as not only typical of the incidents in which the police department has been involved but also indicate the rapid succession of incidents in a single night and the variety of ways they evolve.
Reports from the department show that officers stopped the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle on Main Street in downtown Encinal shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, June 10, and arrested the San Antonio man for human smuggling. Officers had discovered six undocumented immigrants in the vehicle.
The Encinal PD has reported that three of the six immigrants were suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion. La Salle County Fire Rescue were dispatched to the traffic stop to give medical attention.
Two hours later, officers were led on a high-speed chase by a driver who has been identified as Jason Ornelas, 18, of San Antonio.
Ornelas was behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla which reached speeds of at least 80 mph before he crashed the car off the interstate near Milemarker 35 in Webb County, according to the report.
Officers arrived at the crash site to find that Ornelas had been transporting nine undocumented immigrants in the car. None was listed as having sustained serious injury in the crash.
Ornelas faces nine felony charges for human smuggling and a state jail felony charge for evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle.
All undocumented immigrants in both cases were turned over to US Border Patrol agents.