Six undocumented immigrants arrested after traffic stop bailout

Two highly valued canines were destroyed by individuals believed to be undocumented immigrants in an area just north of Holiday Beach in Aransas County on Saturday.

The two tracking dogs were a part of a kennel belonging to Joe Braman from Refugio County. The dogs have been instrumental in locating individuals with Dementia and Alzheimer’s that wondered away from their homes in the past.

The dogs were deployed to assist Aransas and Refugio County Deputies, DPS Troopers and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens who responded to help arrest a group of people believed to numbers 14-16 who fled on foot from a black Ford Truck.

The incident started with an attempted traffic stop of a north bound vehicle who at one point appeared to be stopping, only to take off at a high rate of speed. The vehicle drove off of the roadway traveling through a fence line and proceeding east bound from Highway 35 until it stopped at the brush line where all occupants left the vehicle.

When responding support arrived, all occupants had scattered on foot in the heavily brushed area.

Refugio County offered a canine unit to assist. They brought tracking dogs that were non aggressive, non-bite trained.

With handlers on horseback and Officers on foot, the law enforcement team soon located and detained 3 individuals after United States Border Patrol verified the immigration status as questionable.

As the search continued and moved throughout a very large area, three more individuals were found in a heavy thicket with two surrendering quickly and a third responded to demands to come out in Spanish telling officers “If you want me, come and get me”.

At that time, two canines were found dead from apparent strangulation in the same area. The collars carrying trackers had been twisted tightly about their necks causing their deaths.

After the sixth individual, who it is believed was responsible for the canine deaths, was detained and interviewed by U.S. Border Patrol Officials it was determined they had come from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

All six individuals, five males and one female were taken to the Aransas County Detention Center where they were picked up by U.S. Customs and Immigration Officials.

While not yet confirmed, one of the males detained for U.S. Customs and Immigration was seen wearing ink of a tattoo known to show Cartel affiliation, according to Aransas County Sheriff’s Office.

While most “Bail Outs” end with detentions after exhaustive searches they do not show this level of aggressive behavior. This incident serves as a reminder to officers yesterday afternoon that while we are still dealing with individuals who may have questionable immigration status these encounters can turn just as violent as any domestic dispute we respond to. And while every effort is being taken to insure everyone’s safety, we are reminded that not everyone we encounter shows the same level of respect for the rule of law and or life even for highly trained animals. It was an afternoon that left me wondering how many lives of Dementia and Alzheimer’s individuals in the future may have been put at risk with the deaths of these two Canines.

-Aransas County Sheriff’s Office

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