Operation Lone Star Boosts Border Response With New Marine Barriers
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 390,500 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 30,800 criminal arrests, with more than 28,700 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, Texas law enforcement has seized over 421 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused:
- Over 10,400 migrants to Washington, D.C. since April 2022
- Over 9,700 migrants to New York City since August 5
- Over 3,700 migrants to Chicago since August 31
- Over 1,800 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15
- Over 250 migrants to Denver since May 18
- Over 110 migrants to Los Angeles since June 14
Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps created 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 Joe Biden's open border policies.
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPERATION LONE STAR:
Governor Abbott today joined Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo to highlight the enhanced border security measures Texas has implemented to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the state. Along with the additional miles of razor wire to deter illegal crossings, this week Operation Lone Star began installing floating marine barriers in Eagle Pass to bolster the state’s historic deterrence efforts.
“In addition to [razor wire], we now have buoys in the water to prevent people from even crossing the middle part of the Rio Grande River and coming into the state of Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “Because Texas has done such a prolific job of stopping people from coming into our state, you are seeing a massive increase in the number of people crossing into New Mexico, Arizona, and California.”
Following the conclusion of the 88th Regular Session, Governor Abbott signed a sweeping package of border security legislation into law last month. The new laws expand the authority and training of border security personnel, make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas, designate Mexican drug cartels as criminal organizations as foreign terrorist organizations, and create a grant program to compensate landowners for property damage related to border crimes.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to provide an update on the deployment of Texas’ new floating marine barriers in hotspots along the Rio Grande River to prevent illegal crossings. First announced during a press conference last month, the new barrier system will serve as another layer in the state's historic response to the surge of illegal immigration, in addition to razor wire, border security personnel, and the border wall.
“This really shows the State of Texas continues to take unprecedented action in the absence of the federal government to secure the border,” said Lt. Olivarez. “The Governor has done far more than any Governor as far as securing the border. We continue to look for ways and infrastructure to secure the border to prevent people from crossings between the ports of entry, because that’s still taking place and the river is very dangerous. Now, having this marine barrier in place in the middle of the river will deter unlawful crossings and prevent drownings and human smugglers from bringing people across the river into the country.”
This week, installation of Texas’ new floating marine barriers began along the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass. As part of Governor Abbott’s border security mission, the new barriers will extend downriver in Eagle Pass and help deter illegal immigrants attempting to make the dangerous river crossing into Texas.
“Now, having this barrier in the middle of the river will hopefully deter some of these migrants who want to make it across the river, which is very dangerous, and prevent some of the drownings that are taking place,” said Lt. Olivarez. “There is no reason why anybody should want to cross that river. They should go to the port of entry where it's safe, where it's humane, where they can seek asylum, as opposed to risking their life crossing the river.”
DPS Locates Stash House Hiding 23 Illegal Immigrants, Including 2 Children
As part of Operation Lone Star, the DPS Criminal Investigations Division assisted in locating a stash house this week where a total of 23 illegal immigrants were hiding in Webb County. DPS Special Agents and troopers assisted with a traffic stop in Laredo, and it was discovered the driver was transporting three illegal immigrants.
After further investigation, a stash house was located near the location of the traffic stop, and 23 illegal immigrants, including two minors, were discovered. The illegal immigrants—from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala—were referred to Border Patrol. The driver was charged with smuggling of persons and booked into the Webb County Jail.
DPS troopers attempted to stop the driver of a work truck in La Salle County, and a high-speed vehicle pursuit ensued when the driver failed to stop. During the pursuit, eight illegal immigrants bailed out and ran toward the brush.
Troopers deployed a tire deflation device, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The driver from Laredo is charged with smuggling of persons and evading arrest.
A human smuggler led DPS troopers on a high-speed vehicle pursuit reaching speeds up to 90 mph in Webb County. During the pursuit, another vehicle tried blocking the troopers. The driver of the first vehicle eventually bailed out near the Rio Grande River and swam back into Mexico to evade authorities. The second driver crashed the vehicle and was arrested by DPS. The second driver is charged with evading arrest, smuggling of persons, and interfering with public duties.
Texas National Guard soldiers help prevent illegal border crossings and track down transnational criminals operating along the Texas-Mexico border. While soldiers initially noticed a slight decrease in criminal activity along the border near Laredo, cartels have recently begun to increase operations again. One well-known guide, known as “the Joker,” was recently apprehended by soldiers, who note guides will often employ minors to carry out their criminal activity.
“I’m out here on the line, trying to stop the inflow of illegal immigrants and occasionally narcotics and stuff,” said Specialist Jonathan Sarver, a rifleman for Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “It’s good to feel like you’re making a difference and having a sense of purpose out here.
Texas National Guard Soldiers Deter Mass Migration Attempts In El Paso
Texas National Guard soldiers assist in holding the line against mass migration attempts in the El Paso region through road and river patrols and razor wire barriers. Earlier this year, El Paso was the epicenter for thousands of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally. Texas National Guard engineers and soldiers have since constructed more than 17 miles of razor wire, while personnel from other states' National Guards also joined the effort after Governor Abbott urged his fellow Governors to help combat President Biden’s ongoing border crisis.
“Operational changes already began occurring before the end of Title 42, significantly affecting illegal immigration into El Paso,” said Maj. Sean Storrud, Joint Task Force Lone Star, El Paso Region commander.