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La Joya PD kept busy in chases

20140606 La-Joya-Drug-BustOfficers in La Joya were involved in three chases over the weekend and seized about 1,400 pounds of marijuana in the process.

Sheriff Geovani Hernandez said it started Saturday when an officer noticed what appeared to be a utility truck. When he looked closer, the officer saw a domestic extension cord hanging off the back when normally utility trucks use commercial cords.

Hernandez said when the officer pulled behind the truck, the driver made an illegal U-turn and headed west on U.S. 83 toward Sullivan City. He ended up driving the truck into the river, Hernandez said.

Halfway across, Hernandez, who was in a unit pursuing the vehicle, said he could tell the suspect was getting tired, and the chief yelled for the driver to come back. Still, the suspect swam, reaching the other side and leaving behind the truck with the title in the front seat and drugs in the back.

In the second chase, a truck in downtown La Joya made an illegal turn and headed westbound on U.S. 83 when officers attempted to stop him, Hernandez said. The truck led officers to Sullivan City close to the river. The driver then exited the vehicle and ran to a friend’s house and got a fresh set of clothes. The friend kicked him out of the house when the friend found out the suspect was running from police, Hernandez said. The friend then reported the incident to authorities, and authorities are seeking a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

The truck also had about 700 pounds of marijuana, but Hernandez said the packaging was different from the first seizure, so he doesn’t think the drugs were transported by the same cartel. Other agencies involved included Starr County, Sullivan City and Border Patrol.

In the third case, an officer attempted to stop a newer model Jeep after witnessing a traffic violation, Hernandez said, and when the officer called the license plate into dispatch, he was told someone known to carry weapons unlawfully owned the vehicle.

The officer requested additional units, but the driver of the Jeep would not stop, the chief said. Units followed the vehicle north to State Highway 107, east to Tom Gill Road, south back to U.S. 83 and then east to Weslaco. At no point, Hernandez said, did the driver speed during the chase.

“He never really endangered anybody except having possible guns in the vehicle,” Hernandez said, adding that officers didn’t know if the passengers in the vehicle were being forced to stay in the Jeep.

In south Weslaco, the driver exited the vehicle, Hernandez said, and cut across a neighbor’s yard. That neighbor reported the incident to authorities, and witnesses said the driver was carrying something in his hand. Hernandez said no guns were found in the vehicle. Agencies that were involved in the chase included Palmview and Weslaco.

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