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Border Patrol agents arrest 55-year-old Harlingen man who fled Sarita checkpoint

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comment from John Flowers' attorney.

Border Patrol agents arrested a Harlingen man last week after he fled the Sarita checkpoint, according to the federal criminal complaint against him.

John Leonard Flowers Jr., 55, of Harlingen arrived at the Sarita checkpoint Wednesday night driving a silver Pontiac Grand AM.

"During the inspection, a service canine alerted to the vehicle," according to the criminal complaint.

Agents sent Flowers to secondary inspection, but he sped away, according to the criminal complaint. Border Patrol found the Pontiac abandoned about a mile north of the checkpoint.

After searching the area, agents found Flowers and three Mexican men hiding in the grass.

"Flowers was arrested for alien smuggling," according to the criminal complaint. "All four subjects were transferred to the Kingsville Border Patrol Station for further processing."

When they questioned him, Flowers claimed someone he knew only as "Amigo" offered to pay him $1,000 per person for the trip, according to the criminal complaint.

Flowers said he fled from the checkpoint to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

"Flowers stated he acted like he was going to the secondary inspection area but decided to speed off since he already knew he was busted," according to the criminal complaint. "Flowers stated that with all his criminal history he knew he was facing 20 to 25 years if he sped off."

Flowers is charged with bringing in and harboring aliens.

An attorney for Flowers declined to comment on the case.

Correction: This story incorrectly listed John Flowers' name in one reference.

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