Skip to comments.Suspects on the loose...Alleged human smugglers elude officials after chase
Posted on 03/16/2011 12:15:25 PM PDT by HiJinx
SIERRA VISTA The search for two armed suspects who fled into the Huachuca Mountains continues today by local and federal law enforcement officials after an investigation into human smuggling at a Sierra Vista residence resulted in a pursuit.
The Sierra Vista Police Community Response Team responded to the house in the 3200 block of Swan Drive after receiving a complaint, said Tracy Grady, public information officer for the department.
Law enforcement officers search Fort Huachuca on Tuesday after a high-speed pursuit through Sierra Vista. The pursuit began after officers responded to a residence believed to house people involved in a human smuggling ring. (Melissa Marshall Herald/Review)
Grady was unable to provide further information about the nature of the complaint. However, that afternoon, Sgt. Mike Mitchell, who was at the scene, said that the investigation was related to human smuggling.
Officers approached the house at 4:12 p.m. and heard a shuffling from inside the residence after attempting to make contact with anyone inside, Grady said.
Shortly thereafter, the garage door began to open. Before opening completely, a white sport utility vehicle reversed through the garage door, ramming into a patrol vehicle and injuring an officer who was either getting into or getting out of the car, she said.
Police opened fire on the two men inside the SUV, which then sped away, making its way onto Highway 92 heading south.
Eventually, the vehicle turned west onto Avenida Cochise, turning off the thoroughfare and briefly entering into the Copper Sunrise and Copper Sky Drive residential area (my neighborhood...HJ), according to Grady and police radio traffic.
The vehicle then made its way into the 2400 block of Laguna Nigel Court, driving through a metal gate and concrete wall of a residence in that area.
Eventually, the vehicle ended up on Buffalo Soldier Trail headed north, turning into the Southeran Arizona Veterans Cemetery.
The vehicle drove through the gate separating the cemetery from Fort Huachuca, eventually driving past the Woodcutter Pond area before rolling, Grady said.
At no point during the pursuit did speeds reach more than 55 mph.
At least two helicopters were called in to assist in searching for the suspects in the Garden Canyon area.
Officials and reports from the scene indicate that several law enforcement agencies were brought in to assist in various aspects of the search and ensuing investigation, including the Cochise County Sheriffs Office, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Fort Huachuca Military Police and the FBI.
At no point during the pursuit did the suspect fire upon Sierra Vista Police Officers, Grady said.
The injuries suffered by the officer when the SUV struck the patrol vehicle were minor, though he did receive medical treatment, she said.
No other suspects were located in the house during a later entry. Police were in the process of obtaining a search warrant Tuesday night to further search the home, Grady said.
With their vehicle abandoned, the suspects then evaded officials by making their way farther into the Huachuca Mountains.
Emergency services radio traffic indicated that at one point, one of the helicopters reported being fired upon by the suspects.
Lee Branham, deputy director of emergency services for Fort Huachuca, said that Sierra Vista Police were spearheading the search, while military police set up perimeters around the Range Road area.
The search continued into the evening, though major efforts were scaled back as the night went on, said Tanja Linton, media relations officer for Fort Huachuca. Border Patrol agents would continue the search for the suspects throughout the night.
More information about the incident is expected to be made available today.
They chased these slave-traders right past my house - I must have been at work, still, 'cause I heard nothing...
And to think I used to hike in the Huachuca Mountains and Coronado National Forest unarmed when I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca.
You couldn’t pay me to do that now, even though I know a lot of folks do.
Chances are excellent that 1 in 3 illegal immigrants now in the US have been to Sierra Vista - on their way into the country!
It was beautiful but even then I saw remnants of illegal immigrants.
I once went hiking there and forgot water. EPIC FAIL.
Indeed! I ran out halfway through a hike.
It was a long way back to the truck - Manila Canyon just off the western boundary of the post.
I was TDY there for Sun Solaris training in 2000. Being Air Force, I stayed at the Sun Canyon Inn and had a new Blazer rental. It was a sweet reward after returning from Kuwait.
I even brought my wife out for a week. We would have breakfast and drink coffee while watching the Army guys do morning PT.
The Air Force was good to me. ;-)
"I've got eyes on HiJinx, on his way now. You guys clear out that fridge yet?"
"We've got multiple containers of spirits here. ICE says they've got a judge who'll add it to a warrant but we've got to move quick. HiJinx has a lead foot and he's heading this way now."
And no, they didn’t find the still in the shed.