Sheriff Justin Marr of Victoria County, Texas, and his deputies patrol more than 200 miles from the Rio Grande. The distance has not insulated his office and constituents from the impacts of the current border crisis.
Victoria County is known as a crossroads for many due to the convergence of two major highways. State Highways 59 and 77 meet in Victoria and are the primary routes to Houston from the Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, the epicenter of the crisis.
On Tuesday afternoon, one of Marr’s deputies attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle for a traffic violation just outside the county seat. The vehicle immediately fled and departed the jurisdiction. Deputies from neighboring Jackson County took over the pursuit. As with most cases, the driver of the fleeing vehicle reached high speeds and began to endanger other commuters.
To reduce the danger, Jackson County deputies terminated the pursuit of the vehicle. A short time after, the vehicle collided with a utility pole. Deputies noticed the vehicle had been modified to fit more passengers. All occupants fled the vehicle and ran into brush areas. When search activities concluded, five migrants and two United States citizens were arrested.
Sheriff Marr told listeners in a recent radio interview that vehicle pursuits involving human traffickers is becoming all too common in his county. “This is an intentional act from our federal government not fulfilling their constitutional duties,” he proclaimed. His frustration mirrors that of other county sheriffs feeling the impacts of the border crisis to an extent not seen in decades.
“What we are dealing with is dangerous vehicle pursuits–lots of property damage that ends from these chases–these smugglers are driving through three of four ranches until their trucks are finally disabled,” Sheriff Marr added.
In this latest case, the smugglers will face prosecution by the state and the migrants were turned over to Border Patrol for processing.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.