Manhunt for Illegal Immigrants is over

By Amanda Ward - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Headed to a containment facility in Basile, more than ten illegal immigrants loaded a van to meet their fates.

Two of which have been on the run for nearly a day after escaping arrest in Johnson Bayou.

"Just like any other law enforcement agency, we have things to look for to pull people over. We don't just randomly select vehicles, and we had reason to believe that these men were in violation of immigration laws," said Fred Haney. Haney is the Patrol Agent in Charge for the Lake Charles station of the New Orleans Sector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

It was around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, when agents stopped a van of what turned out to be three illegals, but a struggle with one resulted in the escape of two.  And, that sparked an all day manhunt and the lockdown of Johnson Bayou High School.

For 18 hours, the two men were handcuffed together on the run. They trekked through the muddy marsh with bare feet and took their chances against snakes, alligators, and mosquitos to avoid capture. But eventually time ran out.

Cameron Parish Sheriff's officials located and arrested the two around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday in a camper they'd been staying in.

"We're thankful for the Cameron Parish Sheriff's Office, and the air brigade that helped with the search. Also, the residents along Constance Beach helped us out," said Agent Haney.

Once in Basile, some of the immigrants may have the opportunity to voluntarily return home, but others will have to report to court and a judge will decide whether a formal deportation is neccessary.

But, as for the two that escaped and were caught, "They will see a judge... And that judge will likely order a formal deportation," said Ageny Haney.