Crash that killed TikTok star, 3 passengers an alleged human trafficking attempt

Authorities are investigating Sunday’s crash that killed 19-year-old TikTok star Gabriel Salazar and three Mexican nationals in an attempted human trafficking.

The wreckage occurred in Zavala County, over 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, where Salazar lived.

Salazar – who was called @gabenotbabe on TikTok – was known for posting humorous short lip-syncing videos. His profile on the social media platform has over one million followers and over 85 million likes. He posted his last video on September 23.

Since Sunday night, Salazar’s Instagram and TikTok posts have been inundated with fans sharing their condolences. On Sunday, her family opened a GoFundMe account to pay for funeral expenses. The online fundraiser said he died in a car accident, but did not provide more details.

On Tuesday, the San Antonio Express-News ran an article after the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that a 19-year-old named Gabriel Salazar who drove a white Chevrolet Camaro died with three passengers after leading police in a chase at Zavala County. Salazar’s last Instagram post was on September 24: a photo of him standing in front of a white Camaro.

And on Friday, the Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Investigations told the Express News they were investigating a wreckage that killed four people on Sunday in Zavala County as an attempted smuggling. Human being.

Also on Friday, police sources confirmed to Express-News that the only deadly quadruple wreck on Sunday was the one that killed Salazar and his three passengers.

Salazar’s family did not respond to media inquiries.

The DPS internally listed the three passengers as undocumented aliens, and the agency launched separate criminal and criminal investigations into the traffic accidents. This is according to two police sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation and widespread media attention.

“Yes, it’s a smuggling situation, that’s what it looks like,” said a police source familiar with the matter. “We’ve had smuggling accidents at Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Uvalde, but the majority are in Carrizo (Springs) and Crystal City, along (US) 83 to (Asherton).”

Separately, Homeland Security Investigations said it assisted Zavala County law enforcement with a crash on that date, and was conducting a parallel investigation. But that stopped before we confirmed that Salazar was the driver. He referred questions on this to the DPS.

“On September 26, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Eagle Pass, Texas, assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Zavala County with a vehicle accident that occurred near LaPryor, Texas, which resulted in resulted in the deaths of four people, ”said a statement from HSI reads. “The incident is suspected to be a possible human trafficking event. No further details are being disclosed at this time, ”as the criminal investigation continues.

According to the DPS, a Crystal City police officer attempted to stop a white Chevrolet Camaro at around 1:20 am Sunday on US 83. Officials said the driver did not stop and continued to drive toward the DPS. north to La Pryor, about 100 miles southwest of San. Antoine.

The Camaro was heading north, pursued by police, when it came out of the right shoulder and into the grass, according to a DPS report. The driver then over-corrected and crossed the road in the grass on the other side.

There, the car struck trees and rolled over several times before landing on its roof, the report said. The vehicle then caught fire and the four occupants died. The passengers were identified as Jose Luis Jimenez-Mora, 41; José Molina-Lara, 23 years old; and Sergio Espinoza-Flores, 36 years old. Their hometowns in Mexico were not available.

While this lawsuit involved a local police department, those involving the DPS and smugglers have increased over the past year. Since Governor Greg Abbott and the DPS this year launched “Operation Lone Star” to target smugglers, there have been 711 vehicle chases, said Victor Escalón, regional director of the DPS. Speaking to the media at a briefing last month, he said the busiest areas were in and around Del Rio and the Rio Grande Valley.

The Del Rio section of the border experienced 375 lawsuits from January to August, up from 32 in the same period last year, he said. And the valley saw 206 chases from January through August, up from 143 last year.

“There are more people coming, more soldiers, more chases,” Escalón said. “It’s inevitable.”

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