A Houston man is accused of involvement in human smuggling following his arrest in Washington County Tuesday night.

Angel Yahir Rocha Gaytan
(Washington Co. Jail)

According to a release from Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak, Sheriff’s Corporal Rosa Salinas stopped a vehicle around 8:30 p.m. in the 13500 block of Highway 290 for defective equipment and possible registration violations.

As Corporal Salinas began speaking with the driver, she detected the odor of burning marijuana.  She also observed the passengers attempting to conceal themselves in the vehicle.  Inside were a front seat passenger, along with two males and one female in the rear seat area.

The driver provided a Mexico identification on his cell phone, which identified him as 21-year-old Angel Yahir Rocha Gaytan.  Rocha Gaytan told Corporal Salinas that the occupants of the vehicle were his friends, but could not provide any names.  Corporal Salinas determined the paper registration displayed on the vehicle was fictitious.

Corporal Salinas received assistance during her interview of the driver and passengers from Deputies Matthew Presswood and Derrick Washington.

The release stated that as the passengers were identified and questioned, it was determined – by their own admission – that they had entered the country illegally, suggesting that Rocha Gaytan was now involved in human smuggling. 

As Deputy Presswood attempted to take Rocha Gaytan into custody, the sheriff’s office said he broke free and fled on foot, but he was eventually caught and arrested.

Rocha Gaytan was charged with Smuggling of Persons; Escape from Custody; Wrong, Fictitious Registration; No Driver’s License; and Unauthorized Use of a Temporary Tag.

The four victims were identified and questioned.  Investigation is ongoing.

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