Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - Dispute over immigrant smuggling turns deadly - Dispute over immigrant smuggling turns deadly
July 7, 2004, 6:47AM

Dispute over immigrant smuggling turns deadly
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

The brother of an undocumented immigrant being brought into the United States was killed late Tuesday after an altercation broke out with the suspected smuggler, Houston police said.

The victim and other family members had earlier agreed to pay the smuggler $1,500 to bring two people into the country. He demanded an additional $300, however, when they met about 10 p.m. in the parking lot of a Fiesta supermarket in the 4700 block of the North Freeway at Airline, Houston police said.

"The family wasn't happy with the price (and) there was an argument," said Houston Police officer Macario Sosa, Jr.

The smuggler then fled the scene with the two undocumented workers still in his pickup. The victim, who has not been identified, grabbed onto the driver's side door and was dragged across the parking lot. He was thrown to the pavement when the smuggler's pickup struck a van on the North Freeway feeder road, police said.

The victim was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where he later died from the injuries he sustained in the wreck, police said.

The smuggler and the two immigrants were taken into custody after a pair of nearby off-duty Harris County Sheriff's deputies spotted a second struggle over a weapon that broke out at the wreck site, police said.

"We'll be trying to obtain statements from everyone involved," said Sosa, with the HPD homicide division.

Federal immigration agents also are investigating the incident, police said.


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