A woman who was caught with four unauthorized immigrants hiding in the back of her SUV on Monday claimed the men had jumped into her car and threatened to harm her and her young son, who was found riding in the back, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in San Diego federal court.
Alejandra Velazquez Gurrola was arrested on a charge of transporting unauthorized immigrants.
Her red Dodge Nitro was first spotted in the Boulevard area about 11:15 a.m. exiting westbound Interstate 8 and then re-entering the freeway at a high rate of speed, according to the complaint. The Border Patrol agent who saw her was in an unmarked vehicle.
The agent said he saw an empty child seat in the front passenger side of the Dodge and a child sitting in the back seat. He recognized the vehicle as one that had been recently suspected of being involved in human smuggling.
The woman behind the wheel was driving under the speed limit and constantly checking her mirrors, causing her to veer onto the the freeway shoulder, according to the complaint. He called for a marked unit to stop her.
A uniformed agent who arrived to pull her over said the driver appeared to be avoiding his Border Patrol vehicle by switching lanes frequently and not allowing the agent to pull behind her, the complaint states.
When the agent stopped the car, he saw two men laying in the cargo area and two more laying across the back seat. The boy, later identified as Velasquez’s son, was also in the back seat. His age was not given.
Velasquez began yelling at the agent that the four men had grabbed her son and threatened him if she didn’t drive them somewhere, according to the complaint. An agent had to unlock the door and pull her out because she was not following orders to get out of the SUV.
She said she had stopped to show her son some birds, and she had no idea what was going on, and that the four men jumped into the SUV and threatened her and her son’s lives, the document states.
At one point during the arrest, as she struggled with the agent, she dropped to her knees saying she wanted her son.
She later told authorities in an interview that she and her son drove down from San Bernardino to sightsee, and that the men got into her car when they had stopped to admire some scenery. She said the men gave her a phone and told her to follow the directions on it.
She said she drove erratically hoping Border Patrol would stop her.
The four men admitted they were from Mexico, according to the complaint. They said they were going to pay $4,000 to $7,000 to be smuggled into the U.S.
They are being held as material witnesses in the case against Velasquez.
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