BIG WELLS, Texas – Dimmit County Precinct 3 Constable Robert Balderas says chases involving human smuggling have become common in recent weeks in the area.
Balderas said one of the wild and scariest chases he’s even been in, where nine men were pushed or bailed out on their own from a moving vehicle, happened in March.
“We had multiple individuals get pushed out of the vehicle onto the highway to, I guess, make me pull over, so the driver is able to get away,” Balderas said.
The chase extended 20 miles, from Big Wells to Dilley, and lasted about 15 minutes. Balderas said it was initiated when he noticed movement in the back of the truck.
“I noticed that there were two individuals and then a tarp in the back of the SUV. And when it popped up, I could see a couple of individuals stick their heads up, and they put it down,” he said.
The SUV would slow down enough to push men out or have them jump out, but the vehicle was still moving at a high rate of speed, Balderas said.
“They slowed down to about 55 mph and pushed the individuals out and then continued, even down to the very last effort where they eventually pushed one of the passengers out, and he violently tumbled, nearly striking the barbed wire fence,” Balderas said.
The constable says traffic stops and chases have become more common in the last month or so. He says it’s causing concerns for the community because many of the migrants hide in private properties.
Some migrants also hide in the city, while those who are lost give up and surrender. Balderas said state troopers have been helping with the traffic stops, but they can’t keep up.
“Every day, between 10 to 12 times a day, maybe more because I’ve lost count, to be honest with you. And this is going on through a 24-hour period,” he said.
Balderas said he wants someone at the state or federal level to notice how amplified the dangers have become and send help to the area.