SAN ANTONIO – After leading U.S. Border Patrol and sheriff's deputies in LaSalle, Frio and Bexar counties on a 119-mile pursuit at speeds up to 100 mph, 17-year-old Selena Amanda Huitron, of Austin, now faces state and federal charges.
Berin Salas, chief supervisory Border Patrol agent in the Laredo sector, said Huitron, a U.S. citizen, is being charged with transporting and smuggling immigrants.
Salas said she is accused of driving a Ford F-150 loaded down with 15 people. He said five men escaped when the pursuit abruptly ended at Interstate 35 and Splashtown, but three men and three women from Mexico were taken into custody along with a mother from Guatemala and her two daughters, ages 5 and 15.
Salas said the 17-year-old is considered a juvenile under federal law.
"The criminal organizations right now, they know that some juveniles are not going to be prosecuted," Salas said.
But under state law, he said Huitron is an adult.
James Keith, BCSO spokesperson, said Huitron, now in federal custody in Laredo, will be extradited back to San Antonio to face felony charges of evading arrest and three counts of aggravated assault on a public servant.
Keith said Huitron allegedly rammed three BCSO patrol cars that had blocked in her vehicle, ending the chase that began in Encinal, north of Laredo.
Salas said Border Patrol agents had noticed people lying in the bed of the pickup about 1:15 a.m. Friday. He said the pickup refused to stop for agents, who then initiated the pursuit, with the help of LaSalle and Frio county deputies along the way.
Keith said Bexar County picked up the pursuit at I-35 and Shepherd Road, south of San Antonio.
Roseanne Hughes, also a BCSO spokesperson, said spikes were not deployed to blow out the tires because there were so many people crammed in the truck.
Salas said rather than pulling over for the passengers to bail out into the brush, Huitron kept going.
"It is very unusual for us to have 119-mile pursuit," Salas said. "I think the driver was scared and didn't know what to do."
However, he also said the investigation is ongoing.
Salas said to report any suspicious activity in the Laredo area, contact Border Patrol at 1-800-343-1994.