A group of illegal immigrants, surprised by a routine immigration inspection while working in a farm field near the Ventura Freeway, tried to elude U.S. Border Patrol agents Tuesday by running across the six-lane road, which was crowded with morning commuters.
No one was hurt in the 9:30 a.m. chase, but the four men narrowly escaped being struck when they darted through traffic, said Mike Molloy, the agent in charge of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Oxnard office.
The men were eventually captured, Molloy said.
“We are very fortunate that no one was hurt,” he said. “We do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening.”
The chase started after two agents arrived to check on the immigration status of workers picking cilantro in a field off Central Avenue and the Ventura Freeway in Camarillo.
When the agents arrived, more than 20 workers took off running, Molloy said.
Four women jumped into a truck and drove at one of the agents, narrowly missing him, Molloy said.
“We usually get people running, we don’t usually have them try and run down one of our agents,” he said.
Four men ran across the freeway and agents stopped nine others. The men who ran across the freeway were caught on the other side. In all, the agents detained 12 men and one woman, all found to be undocumented immigrants.
After sitting through interviews Tuesday with agents and Mexican Consulate officials, the group was sent to Los Angeles for eventual deportation to Mexico, Molloy said.