Police: Known gang member busted for human smuggling after chase

Wilson Fernando Zapata is arrested by Fayette County authorities. (Dawn Denny/KXAN)

FAYETTE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Police in Fayette County were locked into another high-speed pursuit Friday after they attempted to pull a man over along Interstate 10 and KXAN crews were along for the ride.

Fayette County Sheriff’s officers said a Ford Expedition failed to yield and they tried to stop 38-year-old Wilson Fernando Zapata near Flatonia. Department of Public Safety troopers joined the chase which reached speeds of about 85 mph. Spike strips were then put down by Schulenburg Police officers.

When the SUV hit the spikes it drove off the road and police say Zapata and seven immigrants in the country illegally ran from the vehicle. Police were able to detain Zapata and two women. Five others got away.

Zapata, from Honduras, is charged with evading arrest with a motor vehicle, and is facing other charges and possible deportation. He is a known gang member with the Tri City Bombers, according to the sheriff’s office. Police said Zapata also had a federal immigration hold under his name for being a deported felon.

The two women who stopped running told police they paid Zapata $4,000 each to be transported out of Mexico into the United States.

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