Illegals flee near Mineral

BEEVILLE – The Bee County Sheriff’s Office turned over most of approximately 17 or 18 illegal aliens from Guatemala who bailed out of a pickup truck late Sunday morning, June 9.

Deputy Lt. Derek Franco said Deputy Quinton Tawater reported spotting a 2004 Chevrolet extended cab pickup on FM Road 673 west of Mineral at about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as he was patrolling the area.

Franco said Tawater made a U-turn in an effort to catch up with the truck and get a better look at it.

When the deputy turned around, he noticed that the pickup had disappeared over a hill, so he increased his speed to reach the top and saw the vehicle was clearly trying to avoid him.

Franco said Tawater used his radar and confirmed that the pickup was speeding away from him, eastbound, at 84 mph.

The deputy gave chase, but about two miles after being spotted, the driver of the pickup made a quick left turn into the entrance to some property.

Tawater said he saw about 10 of the truck’s occupants jump from the vehicle and run into the brush. One of those who fled had been lying in the bed of the truck.

When the deputy got to the vehicle, he found seven persons still lying in the bed.

All seven were taken into custody to await transfer to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Franco said the June heat apparently got to some of those who had successfully eluded deputies because they were able to bring in four more of the runaways Sunday afternoon.

Franco said all those apprehended were from Guatemala.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at