Coryell County deputies intercept human smuggling attempt; 12 in custody

Routine traffic stop led to high-speed chase, arrest of suspects
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Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) - Deputies with the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office say they interrupted a human smuggling operation and arrested 12 people following a short pursuit early Friday morning at Osage Road and State Highway 36.

Shortly after 3 a.m., deputies attempted to stop the driver of a 2004 Honda Pilot near Hay Valley Road for a traffic violation.

Deputies said the driver failed to yield, resulting in a high-speed pursuit that ended minutes later when the Honda came to a stop near Osage Road.

12 people rapidly exited the vehicle and ran away, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies and officers with the Gatesville Police Department took three suspects into custody after a short foot pursuit.

A search continued throughout the morning for the nine subjects at-large, covering an area north of Gatesville.

All 12 suspects were captured and detained by 11 a.m.

Nine subjects, all of whom had illegally entered the United States from countries in South and Central America, were released to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials at the Coryell County Jail.

Three Guatemalan nationals, including the driver, were arrested and remained in custody at the jail.

The driver of the vehicle, Nelson Jose Ramirez Silva, 29, was charged with smuggling of persons, resisting arrest or search, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, and evading arrest or detention.

Cesar Avila Augusto Avila, 33, and Alexander Siquita, 23, were charged with evading arrest or detention.

The three men will be held on ICE detainers, meaning federal immigration authorities will take custody of the men if they bond out of jail.

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