Picture for illustrative purposes: Authorities chased an orange Camaro through town as it raced more than 100 mph with a load of illegal immigrants. The driver was a teenager solicited through social media.
Another teen recruited for smuggling off social media
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – An 18-year-old man was arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on Monday after leading multiple law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase during a human smuggling attempt.
Angel Antonio Rios-Borgetti, 18, of Tolleson, Arizona, was booked on charges of endangerment, human smuggling, participating in a human smuggling operation, and unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement.
Five undocumented immigrants were located in the Camaro – two of them in the vehicle’s trunk. The immigrants included two females and three males and were dressed in camouflage with carpet covers wrapped over their shoes.
Borgetti told the arresting officer that he saw an ad on social media that said he would be paid $1,000 per person he picked up and took to Phoenix. He said he needed the money, ironically, because he couldn’t pay his monthly car payment on the vehicle he just wrecked running from the police.
Over that past month, several smuggling attempts have been thwarted as they travel through the Gila Valley, and multiple times the drivers have been teenagers who were brought in by a social media ad of fast money for little effort.
According to a Thatcher Police report, an officer was working Operation Stone Garden – which pays local officers for increased patrol for border security – when an alert came over dispatch at about 4:52 p.m. to be on the lookout for an orange Chevy Camaro being pursued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and a helicopter.
The officer responded to the area of mile marker 117 and saw the Camaro barreling north with the helicopter in tow.
The officer turned and began to pursue the Camaro, which was reportedly traveling at roughly 95 mph in a 55 mph zone. The Camaro then ran a red light at the intersection of Discovery Park Boulevard and nearly struck a westbound vehicle.
The Camaro then turned west onto 20th Street and sped through the stop sign at 8th Avenue before turning north onto 14th Avenue. The officer reported the Camaro then raced through the stop sign at Relation Street at 100 mph. Directly to the north are Safford High School and Ruth Powell Elementary School.
The Camaro ran the light at Highway 70 and headed westbound through Thatcher, Central, and Pima as he was tailed by numerous law enforcement vehicles. Officers attempting to catch up to the Camaro reported traveling at 115 mph as the car passed other highway traffic erratically on the right and left.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer deployed stop sticks on the highway west of Pima, but the Camaro continued to pass vehicles while traveling on the shoulder with two flat tires at nearly 100 mph.
The Camaro eventually wrecked on the shoulder west of the turnoff for Bonita/Klondike, at about mile marker 312. Borgetti and the occupants in the cabin all exited the vehicle prior to officers’ arrival but were quickly apprehended at gunpoint by officers with the Pima and Thatcher Police Departments and deputies with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office. Two occupants were found in the trunk.
When questioned, Borgetti said that after answering the ad on social media a man gave him an address to pick up the five immigrants near Douglas and he used his GPS to find the location. Shortly afterward, a Border Patrol vehicle passed the group and turned around. Borgetti said that spooked him and caused him to run.