GCSO thwarts human smuggling attempt

Smugglers still at large

Jon Johnson File Photo: A traffic violation led to the breakup of a human smuggling operation traveling through Graham County early Monday morning.

By Jon Johnson


GRAHAM COUNTY – A traffic stop for a moving violation escalated into a pursuit that ended with the apprehension of three undocumented aliens early Monday morning. Four other suspects successfully fled from the scene and remain at large.

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, a deputy was stationary in the area of U.S. Highway 70 and Sanchez Road at about 5:20 a.m. when he noticed a westbound silver Ford SUV traveling at 72 mph in a 55-mph zone. 

The deputy attempted a traffic stop and the vehicle, identified as a silver, 2013 Ford Explorer, initially pulled over along the shoulder of Highway 70 just east of the San Simon Wash Bridge. However, before the deputy could exit his vehicle, the Ford accelerated at a high rate of speed. 

The pursuit was short-lived, as the Ford stopped abruptly near Nelson Drive and for subjects fled on foot into a grove of Pecan trees. 

The deputy encountered three other individuals – two male and one female, all from Mexico, inside the vehicle and attempting to flee.

The four subjects who fled were not located, however, two identifications were located in a wallet found in the SUV, along with $230 USD and $100 Mexican Pesos. The IDs didn’t match the three subjects who were apprehended, and authorities believe that the two men – both with Hispanic names – were part of the four who got away. The driver and other passenger have not been identified. However, the detained subjects said they were picked up by a Caucasian male named “Wedo” and that they would pay him a little money each day in exchange for him taking them to California, with the ultimate destination being Stockton, California. 

The three undocumented immigrants who were taken into custody were released to the Border Patrol, who was also given the information on the two IDs found in the Ford. The Ford Explorer was transported to the Graham County Evidence Yard for storage.