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Border Patrol stops smuggling vehicle with spike strip

Courtesy of US Border Patrol, San Diego Sector

Courtesy of US Border Patrol, San Diego Sector

SAN DIEGO – A suspected human smuggler was arrested Wednesday after leading U.S. Border Patrol agents on a road and foot chase through the East County and then pulling a knife on his pursuers, prompting then to zap him with a stun gun.

The suspect, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen whose name was withheld, picked up five undocumented immigrants in a Nissan Xterra in the Boulevard area shortly after 3 a.m., according to USBP public affairs.

When border officers alerted to the smuggling activity tried to pull the man over, he refused to yield, entered Interstate 8 and made a failed attempt to ram a federal vehicle, officials said.

At a Border Patrol checkpoint on the freeway in Pine Valley, the fleeing man’s SUV ran over a tire-flattening spike strip agents had laid in his path. Though the device punctured two tires on the Xterra, the suspect continued driving for about another mile, then slowed down and jumped out of the still- moving vehicle along with his passengers.

The suspect ran for a time before stopping, turning to face the pursuing officers and pulling a knife. One of the agents shocked him with the stun gun, disabling him enough to be taken into custody.

The people who had been riding in the SUV were captured without incident nearby. Authorities determined that they were Mexican nationals in the United States illegally, according to the Border Patrol.