Seven arrested in Texas crash that killed nine illegal immigrants

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 13, 2012 5:54 PM
Seven arrested in Texas crash that killed nine illegal immigrants

By Jared Taylor

PALMVIEW, Texas (Reuters) - Authorities have arrested seven people, including a 15-year-old boy, in connection with a late-night wreck that killed nine illegal immigrants in southern Texas earlier this week, police said on Friday.

The boy, believed to be the driver who tried to outrun U.S. Border Patrol agents in a minivan overcrowded with 19 illegal immigrants, was tracked down at his rural Hidalgo County home Thursday night, said Chris Barrera, the police chief in Palmview.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement have detained six other people, who now face human smuggling charges, officials said.

In a criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in McAllen, Texas, those six adults were charged with organizing and maintaining an immigrant stash house less than a mile from where the fatal rollover occurred.

The 15-year-old driver lost control of the minivan after he fled a traffic stop by Border Patrol agents, the complaint states. All of the van's passengers were tossed from the vehicle onto a frontage road along U.S. Highway 83 in Palmview, about 240 miles south of San Antonio.

Investigators will meet with the local district attorney Monday to determine whether the teen will face juvenile or adult charges for his role in the smuggling ring, Barrera said. The boy is too young to be tried in federal court, Barrera said.

The illegal immigrants, believed to be from Mexico, were to be transported to a point near a Border Patrol checkpoint close to Sarita, Texas, according to the complaint. From there, they were to walk through the brush to avoid detection. Their ultimate destinations included Houston, Atlanta and New York.

(Reporting By Jared Taylor; editing by Dan Burns and Jackie Frank)