Federal agent, civilian vehicles crash in Starr County smuggling attempt
A Starr County man is facing drug smuggling charges after a failed attempt that led to a crash against an agent and civilian on Saturday.
Leonel Sepulveda Jr., 42, was driving a brown Lincoln sedan that was later found to have nearly 240 pounds of marijuana.
The sedan was first spotted near an area by the river known to agents as "La Prieta", a drug smuggling route identified in the criminal complaint. A water craft was also seen on the river. Agents believed it was scouting for law enforcement.
A marked vehicle with U.S. Border Patrol headed in the direction of the sedan with the emergency lights turned on. Sepulveda changed the direction of his vehicle, striking the federal agent's unit, and proceeded to go north toward old U.S. Highway 83.
A chase ensued involving the sedan driving on the median and weaving in and out of oncoming traffic for two miles. The pursuit was short-lived. Sepulveda rear-ended a civilian's vehicle and then attempted to flee. An agent arrested him.
The 232 pounds of marijuana and vehicle were seized.
Sepulveda went before a federal judge on Tuesday. He is facing charges including possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance.
His case will be prosecuted by the same assistant U.S. attorney handling the Midway drug trafficking organization case.
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