PINE VALLEY —U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 8 checkpoint deployed a spike strip early this morning, when a man with illegal aliens in his vehicle refused to yield.
The incident began on Wednesday at approximately 3 a.m., when a group of five individuals were observed walking northbound from the U.S./Mexico international boundary in East County. A man driving a Nissan Xterra picked up the five people in the town of Boulevard. Agents on duty attempted to pull over the SUV, but the driver refused to stop. As agents pursued the Xterra onto Interstate 8, the 27-year-old driver, later identified as a U.S. citizen, attempted to ram a Border Patrol vehicle.
Agents at the I-8 checkpoint were alerted and deployed a spike strip at the checkpoint entrance. Shortly after, the driver of the Nissan passed through at a high rate of speed. The spike strips flattened two tires, yet the driver still refused to yield.
Approximately one mile later, the vehicle slowed down and the driver and passengers exited the vehicle while it was still moving. One agent secured the moving SUV, while others pursued the driver and five passengers. As agent’s gained ground on the fleeing driver, the man turned around, faced agents, and pulled out a knife.
Agents deployed an electronic control weapon (i.e., taser), which subdued the man and allowed agents to handcuff him. The other five people were quickly apprehended without incident and then determined to be Mexican nationals in the U.S. illegally. The group of six was transported to a nearby station for processing and the vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol. The driver is in federal custody pending criminal charges for human smuggling.