TUCSON, Ariz. – A Tucson man transporting four illegal aliens in a Ford Fusion fled from Willcox Border Patrol agents Thursday morning who were attempting to conduct an immigration inspection on Highway 80 near Tombstone.

When agents tried to stop the vehicle at approximately 7 a.m., the vehicle sped away toward Tombstone High School but stopped after crashing through a gate in front of the school. Five men bailed out of the vehicle in an attempt to escape on foot.

Helicopter flight crews from Air and Marine Operations and Cochise County Air responded to assist agents on the ground and soon all five suspects were apprehended.

Tombstone High School was briefly placed on lockdown as a precaution but the lockdown was lifted by 8:30 a.m.

The driver, identified as a 35-year-old U.S. citizen, now faces felony smuggling charges. The vehicle’s other four occupants, identified as Mexican nationals, will be processed for immigration violations.

A similar incident occurred the evening prior near Sunizona when agents from Willcox Station’s Highway Interdiction Team attempted to stop a Chevy Malibu on Highway 191. A 22-year-old Douglas man driving the vehicle fled from agents during an immigration stop after two female Mexican nationals bailed from the vehicle.

Responding agents arrested the two women and later caught up with the Malibu on Highway 186, with the Douglas man and two other illegal aliens near the vehicle.

The Douglas man faces felony smuggling charges while the four Mexican nationals are being processed for immigration violations.

“Willcox Station is committed to disrupting criminal activity within Cochise County and will continue working with our local law enforcement partners and the community to enhance the quality of life in southeastern Arizona,” said Willcox Station’s Patrol Agent in Charge John Scanlon. “Units such as our Highway Interdiction Team and agents at our immigration checkpoints help make this county an undesirable place for criminals to operate.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Reporting illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.   back...
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