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Frio County deputies continue dealing with an increase in the numbers of smuggling cases and are carrying out pursuits, many of which have ended in bail-outs of suspects and passengers.
Reports indicate county officers are averaging nearly ten such incidents per week as criminals transport narcotics and undocumented immigrants through the region.
“The rise in these pursuits and bail-outs is due to a tremendous increase in human smuggling through South Texas,” Frio County Sheriff Mike Morse said. “They are threatening residents, businesses, landowners and putting the lives of migrants at risk.”
Since the launch of an online alert system earlier this year, residents in Frio County have reported seeing an increase in bail-out alerts rise from an average of five to nine a week.
“These smugglers are reckless and dangerous,” the sheriff said. “We will continue to alert the citizens and be vigilant.”
Deputies on routine patrol along Hwy 57 this week effected the traffic stop of a Ford F-150 pickup truck after the failed to use his turn signal. The road is noted as being heavily used by smugglers. According to the report on the case, the driver, 19-year-old Edson Alverado and his passenger, 20-year-old Bryon Espinoza, were undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
During the roadside interview, deputies and border patrol agents learned Alverado was carrying an unregistered firearm. Both men were taken into custody by the US Border Patrol.
Five days later, deputies noted a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle traveling in tandem near Milemarker 114. Emergency dispatchers confirmed the pickup truck had been reported by San Antonio police as a stolen vehicle.
A report on the case indicates the driver stopped the vehicle near CR 4757 then began traveling at a high rate of speed before driving through a fence onto private property. Deputies said the vehicle traveled about a mile into the property before the occupants fled into the brush.
The county continues to participate in Operation Stonegarden, a federal grant program funded through the Department of Homeland Security to support the overtime salaries of those signing up for additional patrols related directly to border-area security and patrol.