Victor Alejandro Godinez, 24, has been arrested, according to multiple law enforcement and government sources, after initially evading capture and sparking a manhunt.
Godinez is suspected of involvement in an incident in Edinburg on Saturday, April 6, in which a Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper was shot.
The trooper, who has not been identified, was rushed to an area hospital where authorities said he remains in critical condition.
Shooting at a Crash Scene
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said the DPS trooper was struck by gunfire while approaching a driver who had fled a crash scene.
“Early this evening a Texas State Trooper was shot multiple times after confronting a suspect who fled from a vehicle accident,” Guerra stated. “Currently the Trooper is in surgery and fighting for his life. I’m asking our community to please pray for him.”
According to the Monitor, a McAllen-based newspaper, the state trooper was shot twice.
The wounded deputy was taken to a hospital in Edinburg, a city with a population of around 87,000 in Hidalgo County, situated near the U.S. border with Mexico.
Hidalgo County Emergency Medical Services said crews arrived on the scene minutes after the deputy was struck by gunfire.
“Medics arrived at scene within 4 min for a shooting of an on duty state trooper and continues to standby with Edinburg Police for support as our thoughts and prayers are with the Texas Highway Patrolman in distress,” Hidalgo County EMS said in a statement.
City of Edinburg officials stated in a Facebook post late Saturday that Godinez had “fled the scene on foot and is still on the run tonight.”
According to the Monitor, city officials asked residents to stay indoors and “lock doors and windows.”
A University of Texas Rio Grande Valley emergency notification said that the suspect was believed to be near the UTRGV Edinburg campus and warned people to stay away.
“Heavy police presence in the area,” the notification read, citing information shared with university police. “Shelter in place and avoid the area of the Edinburg campus if possible.”
University police received information that the suspect involved in a police shooting was in the vicinity of the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. Heavy police presence in the area. Shelter in place and avoid the area of the Edinburg Campus if possible. More information to follow.
— UTRGV (@utrgv) April 7, 2019
The Texas Department of Public Safety South Texas Region announced in the early morning hours of Sunday that Godinez had been arrested.
In an update several hours later, Texas DPS announced the state trooper was out of surgery and is in “stable but critical condition.”
Edinburg is located close to the Rio Grande Valley, considered to be one of the main smuggling corridors used by cartels get drugs and illegal aliens into the United States.
‘Reckless Tactics’ in Rio Grande Valley
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, human traffickers in the Rio Grande Valley “continue with reckless tactics.”
The CBP has several campaigns in the area focused on combating human smuggling and saving lives, according to a news release. The initiatives—with such names as “Operation Big Rig” and “No Se Arriesgue”— are focused on rescues and danger awareness.
In a recent case reported by CBP, McAllen agents responded to a report of several subjects illegally entering the United States near Havana, Texas.
“When mobile units arrived, they observed a white Ford F-150 speeding out of the area,” CBP said. “Agents attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the driver failed to yield and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the driver exited the moving vehicle in an attempt to evade arrest. Agents apprehended the driver and discovered eight illegal aliens in the truck.”
Busiest Area for Illicit Traffic
The Rio Grande Valley Sector is the nation’s busiest sector, accounting for more than 40 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens. It also accounts for more than 43 percent of marijuana seized at the southwest border for the fiscal year to date and is the second busiest sector for seized cocaine.
The majority of the sector’s illicit traffic occurs in areas of limited infrastructure, access and mobility, and technology, according to CBP.
Rio Grande Valley Deputy Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said so far this fiscal year, Border Patrol has apprehended more than 120,000 illegal aliens in the sector.
A further 25,000 illegal aliens have evaded Border Patrol, according to earlier Epoch Times reports.
“We actually don’t know who they are,” Ortiz said on March 22. “So far, here in south Texas, we’ve apprehended folks from 44 different countries. These are from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, you name it.”
Ortiz also said the Border Patrol is only able to seize up to 10 percent of the drugs that cartels are trafficking across the border because resources are stretched so thin.
Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.