Operation Lone Star Fights Deadly Fentanyl Crisis Coming Across Border
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 more than 279,100 migrant apprehensions and more than 17,100 criminal arrests, with more than 14,400 felony charges reported. More than 5,800 weapons and more than $43.5 million in currency have been seized.
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:
On Thursday, Governor Abbott visited the DPS Region II Headquarters in Houston, where he toured the drug warehouse and crime lab and received a briefing from law enforcement officials on the fentanyl crisis and its devastating impacts on Texas communities. The Governor then provided an update during a press conference on DPS’ efforts to keep the deadly drug out of Texas communities.
“Mexican drug cartels are smuggling fentanyl into our country any way they can. It is laced into every other street drug available, as well as being disguised as legal prescriptions, as this lab has discovered,” said Governor Abbott. "Because of the folks at this lab, who handle potentially lethal drugs every day, we are saving the lives of thousands of Texans from the deadly scourge of fentanyl."
Governor Abbott discussed his latest executive order that authorizes and empowers the Texas National Guard and DPS to apprehend illegal immigrants who cross the border between ports of entry and return them to the border.
“Texas is using every strategy and tool we can to help these local counties that are being overrun with illegal immigrants,” Governor Abbott said.
In partnership with Governor Abbott and the Texas National Guard, DPS is working to prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal activity between ports of entry and ensure the safety and security of communities across Texas.
Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin covered about 75 illegal immigrants being loaded onto buses to be returned to the port of entry in Eagle Pass. The group of single adults and families had illegally crossed the Texas-Mexico border just moments before and were detained by DPS.
Previously, when DPS encountered illegal immigrants, U.S. Border Patrol would take custody, but Governor Abbott’s executive order allows Texas to respond directly to the massive influx of illegal immigrants.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez described to Fox News how Governor Abbott has had to take unprecedented action through his latest executive order, which authorizes DPS and the Texas National Guard to return illegal immigrants to ports of entry at the border, because the federal government has failed to act on border security.
Additionally, Lt. Olivarez said Border Patrol agents who were falsely accused of wrongdoing by the Biden Administration deserve respect and an apology from the federal government.
As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas National Guard works alongside DPS and other law enforcement partners to provide crucial manpower, capabilities, and equipment in high-traffic areas of illegal activity in the Texas-Mexico border region.
A DPS trooper conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in Del Rio and encountered multiple illegal immigrants bailing out of the truck and running into the brush. A total of seven illegal immigrants were apprehended and referred to U.S. Border Patrol, and the driver was charged with the smuggling of persons. The truck was linked to Turo, a company that allows private owners to rent out their vehicles.
Texas National Guard Airmen Employ Advanced Technology To Detect Illegal Border Crossings
Texas National Guard airmen conducted surveillance activities near the Brownsville area of operations utilizing Humvee-mounted Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). Using thermal imagining, CROWS allows for the detection of individuals at night, and during the day CROWS allows for magnification of distant terrain to determine the precise location and number of illegal immigrants crossing the border.
Airmen also conducted foot patrols around their vehicle to search for illegal immigrants who may be hiding in the brush to avoid detection.
Newsmax border correspondent Jaeson Jones detailed the human toll of smuggling taking place along the Texas-Mexico border. In one recent incident, 11 illegal immigrants were apprehended by law enforcement, but officials had to use a helicopter to rescue an individual more than 8 miles away who had been abandoned by the smuggler accompanying the group because the sole of his shoe had given out.
Texas National Guard Witnesses Increasing Groups Of Illegal Immigrants In Areas Of Operation
The Texas National Guard is seeing an uptick in apprehensions of illegal immigrants as part of the Operation Lone Star mission to stop criminal activity and illegal immigrants trying to cross the Texas-Mexico border. The number of large groups of illegal immigrants have increased by the hundreds over the past two months
“We are averaging close to 60 apprehensions per day in our area near Hidalgo westward,” said Staff Sgt. Cruz Perez. “There are sensors, cameras, and towers with cameras. Every time the sensors actuate, we ask for coordinates and go straight to them.”