Local News

May 7, 2013

16 detained in suspected human smuggling case

Sixteen people traveling in a van designed to seat seven were sent to the Whitfield County jail last week to await possible deportation after a Tunnel Hill police officer stopped the van on Interstate 75.

According to an incident report, Lt. Scott Reneau believed the driver and a front seat passenger were using the van to smuggle individuals into the country from Guatemala and El Salvador. Reneau said he stopped the Nissan Quest after he saw it cross the dividing lines on I-75 near Rocky Face without actually changing lanes Thursday afternoon.

When Reneau stopped the vehicle, the report states, the driver said he did not speak English, and the only driver’s license and registration he could produce were from Mexico.

The other passengers, all Hispanic — one of them a woman — were sitting on the floor and shoulder to shoulder, according to the report, and there was a “pee jug” inside the van. None except the driver, later booked as Carlos Martinez-Rocho, 26, of Guatemala, had identification.

Reneau said he spoke in Spanish to the driver who told him the travelers were construction workers coming from Houston and going to Atlanta to work.

“It made no sense for them to be on this end of I-75 if they were coming from Houston going to Atlanta unless they were trying to avoid law enforcement on I-10,” Reneau wrote in his report. “This route was a longer route.”

Reneau said he also talked to the front seat passenger. Because everyone was dressed fairly nicely and their hands were smooth, they didn’t appear to be construction workers. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worker was contacted, and the 16 were placed on hold at the jail and are expected to be deported, Reneau said.

He said at least one person had been deported once before.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014