BY ROBERT MORALES
Two 18-year-olds, Rolando Aguilar Jr. and Gerardo Vasquez, both of Odessa, were arrested on Monday for felony evading in a motor vehicle (state charge) and additional federal charges of human trafficking. Other charges will be filed by the Culberson County Sheriffâ€™s Office relating to the pursuit, including damage to one patrol car.
The incident began in the Lobo area on Hwy. 90 north when Border Patrol agents began following a suspected vehicle. It soon evolved into a high-speed chase before entering the Van Horn city limits, and thatâ€™s when deputies took over the pursuit.
Sheriff Oscar Carrillo said that any high-speed chase is dangerous, but this one happened on Monday evening during the areaâ€™s first rainfall in months. The driver led deputies through East Broadway and then on to IH-10 East. Mr. Carrillo said the slick roads only made the pursuit more treacherous as speeds approached 100 miles per hour.
Deputies intercepted the car by bumping into it (known as PIT maneuver in law enforcement) about two miles into the chase. Thatâ€™s when the vehicle came to a stop.
Mr. Carrillo said that Aguilar and Vasquez had two undocumented men with them, and the two aliens were taken into custody by Border Patrol.
“Itâ€™s common knowledge among law enforcement officials that this is a red-alert area,â€ said Mr. Carrillo. “They come out of the brush and the pick-up has already been predetermined by the traffickers. Sometimes itâ€™s drugs, other times itâ€™s humans that will be smuggled into a larger metropolitan area.â€
Aguilar and Vasquez acknowledged to deputies that they had made these pick-ups in the past. They admitted to communicating with the other participants involved via cell phones.
On Tuesday evening around 5 p.m., deputies responded to a 911 call at the Hampton Inn that a man was unresponsive, and apparently hotel guests were administering CPR to the man under the front entrance canopy.
In the meantime, a distraught young woman who was in the same vehicle with the distressed man on the ground, rented a room. Deputies later learned that the woman was desperately trying to get five pounds, roughly 2.2 kilos of cocaine into the room.
According to Mr. Carrillo, three people were traveling in a Dodge Nitro from El Paso, and they made it safely through the Sierra Blanca checkpoint. After getting through the checkpoint without getting caught, apparently the three persons began doping it up with the very large amount of cocaine at their disposal.They had made the trip from Denton to El Paso allegedly to transport the cocaine back to Denton.
This is what 2.2 kilos of cocaine (5 pounds) looks like. Jose Carrasco Velasquez, 33, from Denton died from a supsected cocaine overdose on Tuesday. Two women, Cristina Martinez, 36, and daughter Marissa Martinez, 19, were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance.
The man, Jose Carrasco Velasquez, 33, from Denton, Texas, was dead on arrival at Culberson Hospital. Although no official cause of death has been determined, Mr. Carrillo believes it was likely acute cocaine overdose. The other women were Cristina Martinez, 36, also from Denton and her daughter, Marissa Martinez, 19, also from Denton.