April 20, 2011
by Ildefonso Ortiz
HIDALGO — A late-night chase Monday left one smuggler dead and led to the seizure of more than 600 pounds of marijuana.
The smuggler has been identified only as a 25-year-old Mexican national because authorities are working with the Mexican Consulate to identify the immediate family, Hidalgo police Capt. Roberto Vela said.
The chase began about 10:45 p.m., when an Hidalgo police officer spotted a black 1995 Chevrolet Suburban parked next to a manhole at the intersection of International Boulevard and Esperanza Avenue, Vela said.
“Information that we have received is that certain manholes are used to load narcotics,” he said referring to the drainage system network which eventually leads to the Rio Grande. “The officer made a U-turn and when he approached the vehicle, a pursuit ensued.”
The vehicle headed north along Spur 115 turning on Tejano Drive and then turned south along a small road that runs alongside the border wall.
“The driver opened the door as if to bail out of the vehicle, but then he cut through a field and drove up a steep embankment, going airborne,” Vela said.
It was unclear whether the driver had been ejected from the vehicle or he was bailing, but he ended up against the side of the SUV as it began to pass through an access gap in the border fence.
The side of the vehicle clipped one of the fence’s metal columns, crushing him in between. The SUV then continued forward about 500 feet, before a front-seat passenger jumped out and ran toward the river. He swam across to Mexico
Authorities found 16 bundles of compressed marijuana in the vehicle and then found two additional bundles while searching the area near the manhole. Authorities also reported hearing voices in the manhole, but a search of it failed to reveal additional smugglers.