PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson man accused of human smuggling allegedly shot at agents during a high-speed chase near Green Valley on Sunday, Dec. 24, federal authorities said.
U.S. Border Patrol said Roberto Ramirez, 21, is facing several felony charges while the two passengers in his vehicle will be charged with immigration violations.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Daniel Hernandez, public affairs officer with his agency's Tucson sector, said Thursday that smuggling attempts are not uncommon in the region, but "we did see a higher level of activity over the holiday weekend." Authorities discovered at least three other human smuggling attempts in southern Arizona over the holiday period, but no other case involved violence. In all instances, U.S. citizens drove the vehicles and migrants hid in car trunks or traveled as passengers.
The incident with Ramirez began at a immigration checkpoint on Interstate 19 near Amado.
Border Patrol said Ramirez drove away from the checkpoint after his vehicle was selected for a secondary inspection.
While fleeing on I-19, Ramirez allegedly fired multiple shots at agents and tried to hit their vehicles with his SUV.
The chase ended near Canoa Ranch Road, which is just south of Green Valley, when Ramirez lost control of his vehicle. One of the passengers was ejected from the vehicle.
Ramirez and his two passengers were treated at a hospital and released.