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A morning search for a stolen vehicle resulted in two vehicle chases, search for at least a dozen suspected illegal immigrants, a person treated for a gunshot wound and the arrest of a woman on trafficking charges.

At about 7:30 a.m. Monday Victoria County Sheriff’s Office deputies were investigating a report of a stolen vehicle on U.S. 87 and Farm-to-Market Road 447.

Upon locating the vehicle, two deputies attempted a traffic stop on a white pickup in the 3500 block of Nursery Road. The driver of the vehicle disregarded the traffic stop and a pursuit ensued. The driver of the vehicle crashed through several barbed wire fences on multiple properties attempting to elude deputies through the pastures, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Additional deputies arrived to help find the truck, which was carrying about 12 illegal immigrants inside the cab and bed. After searching the area on foot because of the thick brush, they found the truck which was empty.

Deputies found blood inside the vehicle which led to a further search of the area for a possible wounded passenger requiring medical treatment.

Deputies reached an area on Fordtran Road where they radioed for other units to investigate further. While waiting for additional units to arrive, a small black car driven by a woman who had a young child as a passenger. When deputies talked to her about why she was out there and where she was heading, it became obvious to the deputies that she was being evasive to deputies’ questions. Deputies believed that she was there to pick up the driver and others related to the pursuit, according to the news release.

While deputies were talking with the woman, a black pickup drove up and stopped. When deputies made contact with the driver, the driver fled the stop at a high rate of speed. The driver drove the black pickup directly toward sheriff’s deputies as he fled, placing them in imminent fear of serious bodily injury or death. Deputies fired their duty weapons at the driver of the vehicle. The driver was able to flee the scene, according to the news release.

A second pursuit then ensued with the black pickup. The driver drove about 18 miles through roads and pastures and then left the roadway through a fence on a private ranch. The driver drove into the heavy brush and was able to elude deputies. Ranch employees alerted deputies to the location of the black pickup. Deputies found the vehicle stuck in the mud near a creek. This vehicle was transporting about 12 illegal immigrants. The suspects fled the scene prior to deputies’ arrival, according to the news release.

One person suffering from a gunshot wound was found at the scene. Deputies cared for the person until medical help arrived arrive. The person was later transferred by helicopter to an out-of-town hospital.

The woman driver, identified as Krystal Ann Ibarra, 23 of Houston, was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and engaging in organized criminal activity. Ibarra’s child was turned over to family members.

Further investigation is assigned to the Texas Rangers and the sheriff’s office Criminal Investigations Division with additional charges pending.

Deputies used drones, ATVs to help with the search. Agencies helping included the Texas Department of Public Safety, Fordtran Volunteer Fire Department, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Lavaca and DeWitt County Sheriff’s Offices and tracking dogs and horses from the TDCJ Stevenson Unit in Cuero.

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Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor's in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at gsloan@vicad.com or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.

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