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Diplomats investigate arrest of 7 Guatemalans

Diplomats investigate arrest of 7 Guatemalans

Texas state police who fired from a helicopter on a pickup truck during a chase through the Texas desert, killing two people, were trying to disable the vehicle and suspected that it was being used to smuggle drugs, authorities said Friday.
The truck was first encountered by state game wardens who suspected it was also carrying illegal immigrants. They chased it down a dusty gravel road near the town of La Joya, just north of the Mexico border. But the driver refused to stop.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Mike Cox said the game wardens radioed for help. A state police helicopter with a sharpshooter was the first to respond.
In a statement, the Texas Department of Public Safety said the truck appeared to be a carrying a "typical covered drug load" on its bed.
The pursuit ended when the sharpshooter fired from above, killing two people and wounding two.
Seven Guatemalans were arrested. No drugs were found.
The officer who fired the shots has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure in fatal shootings.
Diplomats started an investigation into the arrests.
Rita Claverie, Guatemala's deputy minister of foreign relations, said the Guatemalan government will demand an explanation from the United States.
"This incident surprises us because we had never seen force being used from a helicopter. ... What had happened in the past were car pursuits and, in some cases, the shooting of undocumented persons," Claverie said.
Humberto Palacios, the head of protection and investigations at the Guatemalan consulate in McAllen, Texas, said the consul was looking into the matter and reaching out to the state police and other agencies to establish what happened.
The nationalities of the dead and of an eighth person arrested later are unknown.
Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas, called on state officials to investigate the shooting.
"If initial reports are accurate, the DPS has starting executing persons who they merely suspect of the civil offense of unlawful entry into the United States."
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Associated Press Writer Romina Ruiz in Guatemala City contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-08 03:14 GMT+08:00