Border Patrol agents arrested a suspected human smuggler accused of ramming his car into marked patrol vehicles during a dangerous pursuit near the U.S.-Mexico border over the weekend.
Steven Aurther Rambo faces three charges of forcibly assaulting a Border Patrol agent, according to a complaint filed Monday.
Agents were tracking two sets of footprints believed to be laid by illegal border crossers along Shockey Truck Trail in Campo at around 6 a.m. Saturday when Rambo first drove by in a black minivan.
An agent saw Rambo as he slowly drove passed him, but noticed his head was turned away as if he were trying to avoid showing his face, according to the complaint.
Under the suspicion that Rambo may have picked up the people who made the footprints, the Border Patrol agents attempted to pull him over. The man reportedly refused to stop, and the pursuit began.
The court documents said Rambo entered State Route 94 heading east at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Rambo “was swerving all over the road, at times going into the opposite lanes of traffic,” the complaint alleged.
An agent deployed a spike strip near SR-94 and Old Highway 80 -- roughly four and a half miles from the border. While the agency said the road block successfully deflated the minivan’s tires, its driver continued east on SR-94.
“The tires on the minivan were deflated but RAMBO continued driving on the wheel rims at about 40 mph,” the complaint said.
One mile later, Rambo reportedly slammed on the brakes and came to a stop. Border Patrol Agent Kyle Swanson pulled up next to Rambo, and Border Patrol Agent Bryan Parker was nearby.
The court document then claimed Rambo accelerated and struck the front of Swanson’s car and then veered to hit Parker’s car. Border Patrol Agent Jeffrey Mittman then pulled up to the driver’s side of the minivan and was subsequently struck too.
Mittman then drove toward Rambo, striking and pushing the minivan further onto the roadway. The driver then struck Mittman’s vehicle again, according to the compliant.
Agents demanded that Rambo surrender and then noticed the man “was naked.” Parker said Rambo began to reach for something but didn’t immediately see what -- later he discovered the man was reaching for his pants, the court document said.
Swanson broke the driver’s side window to apprehend and arrest Rambo.
Rambo claimed agents “tore him out” of his car. He sustained a cut on his left hand from the broken glass from the minivan.
The California Highway Patrol was called to evaluate Rambo for any possibilities of driving under the influence, the complaint said.
Rambo was placed inside a holding cell at the Campo Border Patrol Station. Five to 10 minutes later, he was found with his socks tied around his neck, the court documents said. Rambo was transported to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
Once in the hospital, Rambo told authorities that he was a cocaine addict and drove to Mission Valley to purchase cocaine at 2 a.m. Saturday, according to the complaint. He also admitted to using cocaine that day.
The court documents said Rambo was “coming off of it” at the time of the interview and was no longer high.
Rambo said after he took cocaine Saturday, he drove around for hours. Then after turning on to a dirt road, he didn’t know where he was. This is when Rambo saw multiple Border Patrol vehicles.
Thinking they were conducting an operation in the area, Rambo said he turned around and tried to leave when agents attempted to pull him over and the pursuit began.
Border Patrol later confirmed that two people, who entered the country illegally, were apprehended in the area near where agents first discovered the footprints. The two people told authorities they were traveling to an area to be picked up by an unknown person in an unknown vehicle, according to the complaint.