New Texas Border Czar Joins Operation Lone Star Mission
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 347,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 24,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 360 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused more than 9,100 migrants to our nation's capital since April, over 5,200 migrants to New York City since August 5, more than 1,500 migrants to Chicago since August 31, and more than 890 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15.
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 Greg Abbott this week announced the new position of Texas Border Czar to oversee border security in President Joe Biden's absence at a press conference on a Texas border wall construction site in San Benito. Mike Banks has been hired as Special Advisor on Border Matters to the Governor and will serve as the State of Texas' first-ever Border Czar.
“As an award-winning Border Patrol Agent, with decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience, Mike is the perfect choice to oversee Texas' fight against the surge of illegal immigration, lethal drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation,” said Governor Abbott. “I have no doubt that Mike's strong record of leadership and wealth of experience will provide Texans—and Americans—the level of border security expertise they deserve from a proper Border Czar."
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to highlight the ongoing security threat to Americans created by President Biden’s ongoing border crisis. Transnational criminal organizations are expanding their networks further into the U.S., while human smugglers are profiting off the federal government's failure to enforce border security.
“We’ve encountered illegal immigrants trespassing on private ranches, some of whom are MS-13 gang members, gang members from Mexico or the United States. Some are also wanted for murder in other countries,” said Lt. Olivarez. “That’s the problem with this situation. When Border Patrol agents apprehend these individuals, there’s no vetting process. They’re not able to determine if they’ve committed crimes in another country. That’s a threat to public safety.”
DPS troopers were led on a high-speed pursuit by a 15-year-old smuggler from San Antonio on I-35 in Frio County in a vehicle that was reported stolen. Because of wet road conditions, the driver lost control of the vehicle and vaulted onto the interstate. The 12-year-old passenger was a reported runaway and involved in human smuggling, and an illegal immigrant was found in the vehicle and transported to the hospital with injuries.
The teenage driver was arrested and charged with human smuggling causing bodily injury, evading arrest causing bodily injury, drug possession, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
A DPS trooper working Operation Lone Star stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation near Del Rio and during the stop determined the driver was involved in human smuggling. Five illegal immigrants were found in the car, including a male Iranian national inside the trunk.
The driver from Houston was arrested for smuggling of persons. All five illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.
A smuggler led DPS troopers on a high-speed pursuit in Hidalgo County. The driver veered off US-83 and onto a dirt road, where he bailed out and ran into the brush. Four illegal immigrants, including a 2-year-old from El Salvador, were located inside the vehicle and referred to Border Patrol. The driver was found hiding in the brush and charged with human smuggling and evading arrest.
Texas National Guard soldiers are observing an impact on illegal immigration and transnational crimes from the Operation Lone Star border security efforts. Teams supporting the mission include boat operation crews that turn away people before they cross the river illegally and engineers who clear paths and provide access to equipment and armor.
“When I first got here on the mission when it started, we were getting anywhere from 40 to 80 apprehensions a day, along with mass groups, and now we’re getting significantly less due to operations down here,” said Spc. Connor Bell, Task Force West. “Without our presence, it would be a lot less safe in our southern Texas communities.”
DPS Brush Team Apprehends Three Chinese Nationals In Mission
In Mission, the DPS Brush Team apprehended three Chinese nationals, who told troopers they each paid $35,000 to cross into the U.S. All were referred to Border Patrol for processing.