Operation Lone Star Continues Thwarting Human Smuggling Attempts
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 321,000 migrant apprehensions and more than 21,400 criminal arrests, with more than 18,900 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 350 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused almost 8,300 migrants to our nation's capital since April, over 3,500 migrants to New York City since August 5, and more than 1,100 migrants to Chicago since August 31. The busing mission is providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities.
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:
After 84 illegal immigrants were discovered by DPS concealed in a dump truck last week, DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez spoke with Fox News about how enhanced border security resources available through Operation Lone Star are enabling troopers to keep up with cartels’ increasingly cunning methods of smuggling.
“The smuggling organizations are always finding ways to bypass law enforcement and checkpoints, because it’s all about profit,” said Lt. Olivarez. “They treat these immigrants as a commodity, and they will continue doing so as long as there are immigrants coming across our borders. Tragically, we’re going to see more loss of life.”
DPS troopers stopped a Mercedes SUV in Zavala County this week, and three illegal immigrants bailed out and ran toward the brush. The driver from Houston and passenger, a known member of the Tango Blast gang, were arrested and charged with human smuggling and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Six illegal immigrants—four males, one female, and a 9-year-old—were found inside the vehicle.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez discussed with Fox News how law enforcement continues to see increases in human smuggling along the border, especially in the Eagle Pass and Del Rio areas. Drivers from major Texas cities are also being lured to the border to serve as human smugglers. With nearly 1 million total gotaways reported in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, as well as 98 terrorists attempting to cross the southern border last year, President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a significant national security crisis.
“We know [smuggling is] a multibillion-dollar trade, and criminal organizations are making more money on human smuggling than they are on drugs,” said Lt. Olivarez. “The border crisis impacts not just border communities but the entire country when we talk about crime.”
DPS troopers were led on a high-speed pursuit in Kinney County by an illegal immigrant from Honduras who is a previously deported felon. The driver was arrested for smuggling of persons and evading arrest. Four illegal immigrants were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.
After local ranchers in the highly trafficked Eagle Pass region agreed to start pursuing criminal charges for trespassing, DPS has been arresting illegal immigrants on private property in the area. DPS recently arrested one group of 59 illegal immigrants on criminal trespassing charges on a private ranch.
“You never know who you’re encountering out here on these private ranches; that’s why it’s very important our troopers are out here,” said Lt. Olivarez. “In some cases, [illegal immigrants] are going to try to make the attempt again to enter the United States. It’s an ongoing cycle all based off the policies in place now and the fact that there are no consequences on the federal side for these individuals who are coming across.”
Texas National Guard soldiers continue working alongside DPS troopers and law enforcement partners to secure the border against transnational criminal activity. As part of Operation Lone Star, soldiers apprehend individuals criminally trespassing on private property, most of whom are illegal immigrants, and prevent the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs like fentanyl.
“It’s not just DPS who thank us, we have people when we’re in town coming up to us all the time to thank us for our assistance,” said SGT Michael Thomas, Kilo Co. medic and team leader in Laredo.
A human smuggler led DPS troopers on a vehicle pursuit in Kenedy County. The driver and three illegal immigrants bailed out and ran toward the brush. A total of four illegal immigrants were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.
DPS Discovers Two Stash Houses In Webb County Hiding 31 Illegal Immigrants
As part of Operation Lone Star, DPS discovered two stash houses in Webb County containing a total of 31 illegal immigrants after noticing suspicious activity at the residences. The first stash house, located in east Laredo, resulted in the discovery of 15 illegal immigrants. The second, located in south Laredo, uncovered 16 illegal immigrants in hiding.
All illegal immigrants are from Mexico or Guatemala and have been referred to Border Patrol.