Operation Lone Star Marks Two Years Of Border Security Efforts
Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas National Guard are continuing to work together to secure the border; stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 355,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 25,000 criminal arrests, with more than 23,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 366 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Biden's open border policies.
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPERATION LONE STAR:
Governor Abbott Marks Two Year Anniversary Of Historic Operation Lone Star
Two years ago, Governor Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to combat the escalating border crisis caused by President Biden’s open border policies. With the President continuing to dismiss the chaotic situation he created for both communities along the border and across the state, the State of Texas is taking historic actions to protect Texans from transnational criminal activity and illegal immigration.
Governor Abbott Issues Statement On End Of Biden's Catch-And-Release Policy
Governor Greg Abbott yesterday issued a statement following a U.S. federal judge's ruling that the Biden Administration has violated federal law by releasing illegal immigrants en masse at our southern border:
"Yesterday, another federal court announced what Texans—and Americans—have known all along: President Biden's open border policies are, in the words of Judge Wetherell, 'akin to posting a flashing Come In We’re Open sign on the southern border.' President Biden's catch-and-release agenda, which violates his constitutional duty to enforce federal immigration laws, has catalyzed an unprecedented crisis of illegal immigration at our southern border and throughout our nation. In 2023 alone, this surge of illegal immigration will saddle Texas taxpayers with an estimated financial burden of $13.3 billion.”
Read Governor Abbott’s full statement.
WATCH: DPS Lt. Olivarez Discusses Dangers Of Americans Traveling To Mexico
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to highlight the violent threats along the southern border, especially for Americans. After four Americans were kidnapped and two of them were murdered by cartel members last week after crossing the border from Brownsville, Texas to Matamoros, Mexico, DPS notes that not only are cartels carrying out cross-border crimes but rival cartels are also fighting among themselves, which creates an extremely violent, unstable situation.
“It’s far too dangerous, and there’s too much crime with the cartels that are operating in Mexico, especially in Matamoros with the Gulf Cartel controlling that entire area,” said Lt. Olivarez. “With spring break coming up, we have a lot of out-of-state visitors traveling to that part of Mexico because the beach is so close. With the violence taking place now within miles of the Texas-Mexico border, it is very dangerous to travel to Mexico.”
WATCH: DPS Rescues Austin Teenager Attempting To Smuggle Illegal Immigrants
A 14-year-old from Austin had to be rescued by DPS troopers after getting lost while trying to evade law enforcement after a human smuggling attempt. On Tuesday, troopers stopped to help a driver in Maverick County who was parked on the side of the road with her hazard lights on. The driver, a mother, said she had just received a text from her teenage son who was lost in the brush and needed help.
Troopers used GPS to locate the teenager in the brush after a short search. He confessed to being involved in a vehicle pursuit earlier in the day while trying to smuggle six to seven illegal immigrants and bailing out to avoid being caught. The illegal immigrants were also located and referred to Border Patrol. The teenager is charged with smuggling of persons.
WATCH: Drones Enhance Texas National Guard’s Border Security Capabilities
Texas National Guard soldiers use drone technology to detect illegal border crossings and efficiently locate illegal immigrants hiding on the Texas side of the border. Sensors detect people illegally crossing the border, alerting the Operation Lone Star partners, who deploy drones to the location.
“These drones are increasing our capability to find people way faster and more efficiently,” said 2nd Lt. David Mata. “Once the camera from the sensor goes off from people crossing, it’ll be uploaded on the ATAK [Android Team Awareness Kit]. Once we get the hit, all of us will respond and deploy the drones.”
DPS Troopers Seize 320 Lbs. Of Marijuana After Attempted Traffic Stop
DPS troopers seized 320 pounds of marijuana after an attempted traffic stop in Webb County on Sunday. A trooper attempted to stop a pickup truck for a traffic violation, but the driver refused to stop. The driver and passenger fled during the pursuit that followed but were eventually located and arrested.
Troopers recovered four large bundles containing marijuana. The 17-year-old driver from Zapata and 16-year-old passenger from Laredo are charged with evading arrest and possession of marijuana.
DPS Brush Team Arrests Illegal Immigrants, Fugitive For Homicide In Honduras
A DPS brush team arrested a group of illegal immigrants in Maverick County for criminal trespass. Through further investigation, they discovered one of the men was wanted for homicide in his home country of Honduras. He will be extradited pending state charges for criminal trespass.
WATCH: DPS Locates Stash House In Palmview, Eight Illegal Immigrants Found
A DPS brush team helped locate a stash house in Palmview, where they found eight illegal immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala, including a 15-year-old girl. Several of the illegal immigrants said they paid smugglers $1,500 to cross into the U.S., and several were wearing wristbands, which often indicates they have paid a smuggling organization to enter the U.S. illegally.
WATCH: DPS Troopers Find A Dozen Illegal Immigrants During Traffic Stop
A DPS trooper stopped a pickup truck in Kinney County for a traffic violation and discovered a dozen illegal immigrants hidden inside the truck. The driver, from Houston, was arrested and charged with smuggling of persons. The 12 illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.
DPS Troopers Seize Cocaine Concealed In Car Door After Traffic Stop In Mission
DPS troopers seized 18 pounds of cocaine after a traffic stop in Hidalgo County on Saturday. The DPS Criminal Investigations Division, with assistance from the Texas Highway Patrol, stopped a vehicle in Mission for a traffic violation and uncovered seven tape-wrapped bundles containing cocaine concealed within the doors. Victor Castro, 44, and Jesus Castro, 23, both of Mexico, were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and transported to the Hidalgo County Jail.
Texas National Guard Apprehend Drug Smugglers, Cannabis Near Brownsville
Texas Air National Guard soldiers apprehended two drug smugglers who entered the U.S. illegally near Brownsville this week. Soldiers seized 55 pounds of cannabis from the smugglers, who were referred to Border Patrol.
Cartel Member Arrested After Trying To Guide Illegal Immigrants Across River
A DPS brush team in the Rio Grande Valley arrested a smuggling guide after he attempted to smuggle nine illegal immigrants from Mexico across the Rio Grande River into Texas. Further investigation and interviews revealed he is also a Gulf Cartel member. He is charged with smuggling of persons. The illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.