State Police are investigating whether the migrant farm worker accused of injuring a state trooper has had help in evading a police dragnet that stretched further south on Wednesday.
Dozens of State Police officers continue to saturate the South Cambridge area Wednesday as the search for Abel Jimenez-Nuno, the illegal immigrant who allegedly dragged a state trooper with a pickup truck, enters a sixth day.
Late Wednesday, a large contingent of troopers could be seen searching an area of the Rensselaer County village of Schaghticoke, just off Route 40, according to Post-Star newspartner NewsChannel 13.
State Police would not say what led them to Schaghticoke, which is just south of the Washington County line.
The police investigation of how Jimenez-Nuno has managed to avoid dozens of police officers, dogs, helicopters and an airplane has picked up speed in recent days, authorities said.
He had worked at the Wilbur farm on Tollison Road for five years or so, and had a number of friends in the region -- including other Mexican immigrants who work at area farms. That has prompted investigators to question those who knew him about their recent contact with him, and whether he was given any help, officials said.
One resident of the South Cambridge area, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of backlash, called Jimenez-Nuno "a good guy" who he believed did not mean to hurt the trooper.
He said Jimenez'-Nuno's 7-year-old daughter was hit with pepper spray that the trooper sprayed into the pickup, and that Jimenez-Nuno was upset because his girlfriend was leaving him.
Police released a new photo and "wanted" poster of Jimenez-Nuno on Wednesday, a photo that lists his last name as Jimenez-Nuno. Police had identified him as Abel Jimenez since the search began. Trooper Maureen Tuffey said he apparently went by both of the last names.
Jimenez-Nuno has been sought since late Friday, when police believe he dragged Trooper Joseph Smith after Smith pulled over the pickup truck he was driving.
Smith stopped the truck because police had been called to Jimenez-Nuno's home on Tollison Road in Cambridge shortly after 9:15 p.m. for a report of a domestic dispute.
Smith remained in Albany Medical Center on Tuesday with head, neck and torso injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
More than 100 police officers have been searching woods and fields off South Cambridge Road since late Friday. They believed Jimenez-Nuno was in that area because a cellphone that he used was determined to be there. Police have gotten a search warrant for information from his cellphone carrier in order to track the phone.
Police expanded road blocks Tuesday to Middle Falls and the village of Greenwich, but would not comment Wednesday on the progress of the search.
The U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement agency has assisted State Police with the case, but the agency has refused to comment on it.
Anyone who has information in the case was asked to call State Police at 583-7000 or call Washington County's WeTip hotline at 1-800-78CRIME. A reward of up to $1,000 has been offered through WeTip.