Car smuggling 9 migrants forced off road, crashes in South-Central El Paso chase

Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times
Tue, January 17, 2023 at 12:47 PM EST

A car carrying nine undocumented migrants crashed when it was run off the road while possibly being chased by other vehicles Tuesday morning in South-Central El Paso, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

The crash occurred about 6:55 a.m. on the Raynolds Street bridge between Durazno and Alameda avenues next to University Medical Center of El Paso, Texas DPS Sgt. Eliot Torres said.

DPS investigators are trying to determine what led up to the crash during the suspected human smuggling attempt.

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A total of four vehicles were involved when the red car was run off the road, crashed and ended up on its side on the Raynolds Street bridge as the other vehicles left the scene, Torres said.

A man driving the car was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries and faces smuggling charges as an investigation continues, Torres said. There were no other reported injuries.

Nine undocumented migrants were found in the car along with the driver and were handed over to the U.S. Border Patrol, Torres said. Information on the migrants' countries of origin was not immediately available.

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Though it is not yet clear what led up to the crash, it is not uncommon for smuggler vehicles to travel in groups, and smuggling organizations have been known to "rob" each other of their valuable human cargo.

The El Paso region continues to see large amounts of human smuggling attempts, authorities said.

The U.S Border Patrol reported that it detained 277 undocumented migrants during 49 smuggling cases in the El Paso area and Southern New Mexico last week alone.

One of the most significant cases occurred on Jan. 10 when Border Patrol agents from Deming intercepted a convoy of six smuggling vehicles at a tactical roadway checkpoint in Southern New Mexico.

Agents detained 38 migrants, including three unaccompanied children, from Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, officials said.

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A Texas Department of Public Safety vehicle. File art.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Car chase, crash in human smuggling attempt in South-Central El Paso