The 60-year-old McAllen man accused of hitting a Mercedes police officer Tuesday at the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets had been caught in an ongoing operation targeting people using social media to sell drugs, records show.
Mercedes police arrested Christopher Byron Lyke Tuesday and charged the man with aggravated assault on a public servant, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a count of possession of marijuana, engaging in organized criminal activity and evading arrest or detention with a vehicle.
He remains jailed on a total of $390,000 in bonds, records show.
The Monitor is not identifying the officers involved in the undercover operation, including the officer Lyke is accused of hitting because of their involvement in the undercover operation.
That investigator has since been released from the hospital and will require some recovery time, according to a post on the Mercedes Police Department’s Facebook page that is attributed to Chief Dagoberto “Dago” Chavez.
A review of arrests by the department has shown that it has made numerous arrests during this operation, including multiple arrests in public places and at least one arrest with a suspect being found with a gun at a state park, which happened Monday. Lyke’s arrest, which resulted in an officer being sent to the hospital, is the latest.
In that arrest, at least one officer had a drawn gun and used force on Lyke before the man wrangled himself away from the officer and fled in the vehicle before hitting the officer on Tuesday afternoon at the outlet mall, according to Mercedes police.
A probable cause affidavit states that an undercover investigator working for Mercedes police observed a social media user Tuesday who was posting “videos and pictures advertising the sale of illegal narcotics such as marijuana, Promethazine with Codeine, and THC Oil marijuana cartridges.”
The investigator made contact and asked if the user delivered to Mercedes, according to the affidavit.
Police say in the charging document what kind of drugs the buyer wanted and the investigator replied and asked for marijuana, Promethazine with Codeine and THC oil marijuana cartridges.
The person and the undercover investigator came to an agreement for the purchase of two bottles of Promethazine with Codeine and a quarter pound of hydro marijuana with the transaction set to take place at the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, according to the affidavit.
One officer set up as a decoy at the location while several other officers stationed in the immediate area waited for the suspect vehicle, a green Mercury Sable, Mercedes police say in the affidavit.
The decoy officer made contact with “John Doe” and was asked if he had the money, to which the officer replied, asking if “John Doe” had the “stuff,” the charging document states.
“‘John Doe’ raised a plastic bag and revealed what appeared to be marijuana,” according to the affidavit.
That’s when “marked units” moved into the location of the transaction, police say.
One investigator approached the suspect vehicle while two officers drove toward the vehicle to block its path, the charging document states.
One of those officers, not the investigator, unholstered their firearm and pointed it at the driver, later identified as Lyke, ordering him to get out of the vehicle with his hands up, according to the affidavit.
This officer then “grabbed the driver from his shirt and attempted to escort the driver out of the vehicle” while ordering him to the ground, police say.
According to Mercedes police, Lyke refused and began to pull away from the officer toward the vehicle.
The affidavit doesn’t describe when the officer got to the vehicle or when the driver apparently exited or was pulled out of the vehicle, but says the officer continued to try to “guide the driver to the floor by pulling on his shirt.”
“After the driver shirt ripped he was able to enter his vehicle and suddenly put it in gear and in disregard for our safety and others around the driver recklessly drove away hitting the undercover police unit on the right side door and right front panel,” the affidavit states.
The front passenger, “Jon Doe,” according to the affidavit, ran from the location as the suspect vehicle recklessly continued driving when it hit an undercover officer chasing “Jon Doe,” and “forcing him into the air spinning him around.”
The suspect continued to drive as police chased it and arrested Lyke, police say.
The affidavit does not say who the front passenger is and doesn’t mention whether Mercedes police arrested the “Jon Doe” who ran.
Mercedes also say they detained a “Jane Doe,” who is not identified in the affidavit and it’s not clear what charges she will face, but the affidavit says she appeared before a magistrate.
County jail records, however, do not list any woman or man booked into county jail over similar allegations Lyke is facing that match up with the offense date of Nov. 17.
The newspaper would normally ask the Mercedes Police Department for comment on the discrepancy, but Chavez previously told the newspaper that his department would not comment to The Monitor on arrests his department makes.