Entertainment

TikTok star Gabriel Salazar faced ‘human smuggling probe’ before death

Gabriel Salazar was killed in a crash last month (Picture: Instagram)

TikTok star Gabriel Salazar was involved in a ‘human smuggling probe’ at the time of his death, police have alleged.

It was reported last week that Salazar had died aged 19 in a car accident in San Antonio, Texas, after friends and social media stars posted tributes and a GoFundMe page supporting Salazar’s family was set up.

The 19-year-old, better known as @gabenotbabe on the social media platform, was then revealed to have died after a high-speed police chase on September 26.

The cause of the car chase was hinted at in a statement to the Houston Chronicle as the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said: ‘On September 26, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Eagle Pass, Texas, assisted Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Zavala County with a vehicular accident which occurred near LaPryor, Texas, that resulted in the death of four individuals.

‘The incident is suspected of being a possible human smuggling event. No additional details are being released at this time; as the criminal investigation remains ongoing.’

The Texas Department of Public Safety are leading the investigation, while the Crystal City Police Department and Zavala County Sheriff’s Office are also involved.

The 19-year-old had been driving during a high-speed police chase (Picture: Instagram)

A statement from the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office said that the fatal crash on September 26 killed the driver and all three passengers in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro; Salazar had been driving.

At approximately 1.20am on Sunday, a deputy ‘overheard a Crystal City Police Department officer initiate a traffic stop on US Highway 83’, with the CCPD officer saying he was in an active pursuit with a white Chevy Camaro that was traveling north on Highway 83 towards La Pryor.

The deputy attempted to deploy a tyre deflation device but ‘was unsuccessful’.

Officials have revealed the social media star was suspected of ‘human smuggling’ at the time (Picture: Gabriel Salazar/Instagram)

The deputy stated that he later heard CCPD officer advise that the vehicle had rolled over and that it was fully engulfed in flames.

In addition to 19-year-old Salazar, the passengers were identified as Jose Luis Jimenez-Mora, 41, Jose Molina-Lara, 23, and Sergio Espinoza-Flores, 36. The three men were Mexican nationals.

Salazar posted under the handle @gabenotbabe on TikTok, where he had acquired 2.2million followers since joining the platform in 2019.

A GoFundMe set up by friend Chris Vasquez has so far raised over $38,000 (£28,000) for Salazar’s family.

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