Investment in new body cameras paying off for San Juan PD

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POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 4:19pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 28, 2014 - 8:38am

Last week, we brought you the story of the San Juan police department investing thousands of dollars for body cameras on their officers.

Now, that investment is already paying off after a chase involving suspected drug runners.

A police pursuit in San Juan yesterday ends with a teen in custody and a house with extensive damage after the suspect abandoned the van he was driving.

The vehicle crashed into one of the home's support pillars.  Luckily, no one was hurt.

"He took off running, the van stayed moving and ended up crashing into a house," explained Sgt. Rolando Garcia.  "We searched the vehicle and found about ten bundles of about 594 pounds of marijuana inside the vehicle."

Miguel Garcia, 19, is charged with possession of marijuana, evading arrest on foot, and evading arrest in a vehicle.

His total bond for all three charges is set at $120,000.

This case is one of the first positive results of the new Axon body cameras we told you about last week.  The suspect claims the police officer broke his arm, but the footage from the body cameras discredits that accusation.

Additionally, Garcia was taken to an area hospital, but doctors found no sign of a broken arm or any serious injuries.

"Upon reviewing the camera, we observed immediately that the officer exited his patrol car, started jumping fences chasing after the guy," Sgt. Garcia said.  "As soon as he apprehended him, he was put in cuffs.  There was no sign of excessive force, so it just goes to show why we invested in those body cameras to really show what happened, and we can disprove in this case that there was no abuse."

San Juan investigators need your help locating two more vehicles that were involved in this case.  Officials say they were "escort" vehicles accompanying the van that was carrying the nearly 600 pounds of marijuana.

"We're trying to find out who the other two vehicles are that were involved, hopefully releasing the video we'll be able to find out who those two are," said Sgt. Garcia.  "One of them is a Grand Marquis, the other is a newer model Lexus."

If you have any information on these vehicles, you are asked to call San Juan crime stoppers at (956) 283-8477.

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