Chief McManus’ decision to release 12 undocumented immigrants, detained in a human smuggling incident last December, into the city without properly and thoroughly identifying them may have led to yesterday’s decision by the District Attorney to free the driver of the 18-wheeler they were found in.
District Attorney LaHood said that to bring a case to the Grand Jury, “We have to establish a money relationship…We have to understand the intent of the driver was to smuggle people and hide it from authorities.” This may have been made more difficult without statements from the people in the 18-wheeler, which was impossible due to the Police Chief’s orders that San Antonio Police Detectives not question the detained individuals and his further order that they be released that same night. The Chief’s actions on Dec. 23rd were not in line with established State and Federal laws and procedures, and may have risked the safety of the community by releasing unknown individuals, engaged in an illegal act, into the community.
It’s unfortunate that the Chief’s actions may have led to yesterday’s release of the driver, who incidentally was also a person of interest in a similar case earlier last year where some of the people being smuggled died, including one MS-13 gang member. The Chief’s actions are now under investigation by the Texas Attorney General. It’s imperative, for the safety of our Officers and the general public, that everyone, no matter what their rank or political leanings, follow the law.
[LINK TO FOX 29 NEWS, 04/05/2018: http://foxsanantonio.com//news/local/district-attorney-lahood-speaks-about-alleged-smugglers-release-from-jail]