Dilley Police working diligently to catch human smuggling in and around their city

From January until May, Dilley Police Department has initiated 26 chases. That’s excluding ones they’ve been asked to assist on.

DILLEY, Texas – The Dilley Police Department has been busy with an astronomical increase in human smuggling cases and chases.

Police chief Homer Delgado said their department has initiated 26 chases this year.

“All of these pursuits have been coming in to our area, which makes it really, really challenging to try to keep them away from our residential town,” Delgado said.

The chases are forcing Delgado to plan for additional safety measures daily, including protecting a parade for high school seniors.

“We’re having to plan heavy equipment to block the roadways in case there’s a pursuit that comes into town,” Delgado said.

He and Sergeant Adrian Ruiz allowed KSAT 12 to see what they were experiencing firsthand. Throughout the day it didn’t take long for us to see what a “typical” day is like for their police department.

“Corporal Garza is reporting that they’re in a traffic stop with the Border Patrol agents at the intersection of the West Access Road and 35,” Ruiz said, referring to some radio traffic.

When we got there, we saw several border patrol units, a Frio County Sheriff unit, and Dilley PD units.

Ruiz explained the increase in human smuggling and chases has allowed them to work with other departments closely.

“The agents suspect that the person that they were making contact with is somebody that actively engaged in organized criminal activity,” Ruiz said.

He wouldn’t say the name of the person because they weren’t under arrest, but he said they call a lot of the shots in the crime world around Dilley.

As we were sitting and waiting, a driver started driving down the wrong side of the road and speeding.

The driver wasn’t under arrest, just handcuffed while officers did their jobs.

Throughout the interaction, the driver’s phone kept ringing continuously.

“We found several cell phones in the glove box, which is a common tactic used by scouts because they’ll just use one phone after the other, after the other, because they suspect that they’ve been caught,” he said.

Scouts are essentially the eyes of criminal activities, Ruiz said. They report where law enforcement is and are sometimes used as distractions.

By early evening, no one had been arrested and things were surprisingly quiet, Ruiz believes it’s because Dilley PD and other departments were out in force. He says it shows what they’re doing is working.

“We’re going to continue to intercept and try and dismantle these human smuggling operations that are in and around Frio County,” Ruiz said.

All of the vehicles KSAT 12 followed with Dilley PD were private vehicles, no large trucks. Chief Delgado said when increased inspections started at the border, they saw the smugglers switch their techniques.

He added that 90% of the stolen vehicles they chase are coming from San Antonio.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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