BRACKETTVILLE, Texas—Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe joked that his first pop-up driver’s license checkpoint on a rural road would be “boring.”

Coe set up on a road that provides smugglers a way around a Border Patrol checkpoint that’s situated between the border and San Antonio.

Less than 30 minutes in and with the third vehicle approaching, word came over the radio that the license plate on the incoming black pickup truck was registered to a white pickup truck—an obvious red flag.

The driver slowed down briefly as the sheriff flagged him to stop, then gunned it through the checkpoint. Deputy Chris Copland was first in to begin the chase. Several hundred yards later, the black pickup veered off the road, through a fence, and plowed into a ranch through the scrub and brush.

Copland followed on foot, along with a Texas Department of Public Safety officer who had arrived a couple of minutes later. They found the truck abandoned about a quarter of a mile in and decided to drive it back out since the keys were still in it. As Copland started the truck, two illegal aliens popped out of hiding from the brush—they had been smuggled in the bed of the pickup and didn’t want to be left out in the middle of nowhere. The truck was ascertained to be stolen.

Meanwhile, a white Chevy pickup, suspected to be driving in tandem with the black truck, saw the commotion on the side of the road and sped past. The driver and passengers bailed out on the side of the road as a Texas state trooper gave chase, but no one was apprehended.

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe sets up a pop-up vehicle checkpoint near Brackettville, Texas, on Aug. 16, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The two illegal aliens that were apprehended were turned over to Border Patrol, who also sent out a K-9 to find the remaining two plus the driver, but to no avail. The next morning, however, the other two illegal aliens flagged down law enforcement from the roadside—they were hungry, thirsty, and tired.

The following day, on Aug. 19, Coe set up his second checkpoint and within 30 minutes caught another smuggling load. This time, the driver stopped at the checkpoint. He was transporting two illegal aliens—who had crossed the border into Eagle Pass, Texas—in his mother’s car.

A week later, Coe’s third checkpoint, on a different road, didn’t result in any arrests, but his six deputies have been spending the bulk of their time on illegal alien-related issues for months.

Extra Texas state troopers have been a common sight on roads near the border since March, when Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star. Since then, troopers have been involved in 649 vehicle pursuits, the Texas Department of Public Safety told The Epoch Times on Aug. 27.

Charlotte Cuthbertson

Charlotte Cuthbertson

Senior Reporter

Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.

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