Police uncover stash house with 26 illegal immigrants inside

The Brownsville Herald
March 8, 2012
By Madeline Buckley

The discovery of a stash house Tuesday with 26 illegal immigrants began when police tailed a car suspected in a drug transaction, Brownsville police spokesman J.J. Treviño said.

Officers saw two cars approach each other on the 4400 block of Boca Chica Boulevard, and suspected a possible drug deal, Treviño said.

They followed one of the vehicles, a green Chevy Tahoe, which stopped at 4444 San Antonio Road – the location of the stash house – and picked up one person. The car then had four passengers, Treviño said.

Officers continued to follow the Tahoe, which was traveling north on Central Boulevard. When they tried to conduct a traffic stop, the occupants of the vehicle fled in all directions, Treviño said.

"They saw the lights, and everyone bailed," Treviño said.

One jumped into a nearby truck, a black Dodge pickup.

Treviño said police arrested the driver of the Tahoe, Jonathan Soto Chavez, 21, for evading arrest. The others in the car escaped.

Officers later found the other vehicle involved, the Dodge pickup, abandoned behind the Public Utilities Board sewage plant on Robindale Road. The truck had been reported stolen in Kennedy County, police determined.

A search of the area revealed four undocumented immigrants hiding around the sewage plant, police said.

Investigators then returned to the home on San Antonio Road because the Tahoe had stopped there earlier.

The 26 illegal immigrants were living in the abandoned home without furniture.

Treviño said investigators have not connected the two cars to the stash house. He said Soto Chavez has not offered any information.

The investigation has been turned over to federal agents. Border Patrol took custody of the men and women from the stash house and the four people found hiding near the sewage plant.

Police uncover stash house with 26 undocumented immigrants inside | police, house, immigrants - Brownsville Herald