Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

Two men have been charged with leading authorities on a high-speed chase, then crashing the vehicle, packed with migrants being smuggled into the U.S., federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Sergio Cervantes-Lopez, 30, of San Diego, and Remigio Sosa-Laez, 19, who was described as a Mexican national, are accused in a Tuesday afternoon pursuit that began near Donovan State Prison and the George Bailey Detention Center.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Border Patrol agents in the area saw eight to 10 people get into an SUV driven by Cervantes-Lopez, which sped off when agents tried to stop it.

The ensuing chase involved Cervantes-Lopez allegedly driving up to 90 miles per hour, ramming a Border Patrol vehicle and crashing into two civilian vehicles.

According to a probable cause statement filed in San Diego federal court, the chase ended when the SUV ran a red light at the state Route 54 exit at Briarwood Road and crashed into another SUV.

The collision sent Cervantes-Lopez’s SUV onto its side. The statement says he ran from officers, but was caught. The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

After Cervantes-Lopez was arrested, he allegedly told one agent, “You gotta give me props, that was a good chase, who was the guy chasing me?” according to the document.

Two migrants told police they had agreed to pay at least $10,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. and that Sosa-Laez had guided migrants across the border on foot.

– City News Service