McALLEN, Texas–Federal agents arrested a convicted human smuggler accused of leading them on a 45 minute foot chase in the brush. The smuggler was apparently trying to avoid getting caught with 10 illegal immigrants hidden in a tractor trailer.
Court records obtained by Breitbart Texas show that Sergio Maciel, a U.S. citizen from Laredo, had been arrested three times before for human smuggling. On Saturday, the day of the most recent arrest, prosecutors allege that he drove a tractor trailer towards the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Texas Highway 83 where an agent asked him basic questions about his cargo and citizenship while another agent with a police dog walked around the vehicle’s cargo area.
When the dog signaled to his handler that there was some contraband in the cargo area, the agents asked Maciel to drive the truck to an inspection area; once there the man parked the truck and ran off into the brush. Some agents went after the driver and had to call a helicopter to help find him, other agents searched the trailer where they found 10 immigrants hiding in between pallets carrying large barrels. The illegal immigrants told authorities that they hadn’t been given food or water and that the tractor trailer was very hot.
Once the agents caught Maciel they tried to interview him but he gave conflicting stories about where he was headed; he did tell them that he was trying to take less traveled roads to avoid checkpoints, the agents said in their complaint.
On Monday morning U.S. Magistrate J. Scott Hacker formally charged Maciel with human smuggling and set his bond at $75,000.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz.