Operation Lone Star Marine Barriers Repel Illegal River Crossings
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 activity between ports of entry.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 427,600 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 33,800 criminal arrests, with more than 30,700 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, Texas law enforcement has seized over 426 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused:
- Over 11,300 migrants to Washington, D.C. since April 2022
- Over 13,100 migrants to New York City since August 2022
- Over 6,400 migrants to Chicago since August 2022
- Over 2,500 migrants to Philadelphia since November 2022
- Over 1,000 migrants to Denver since May 18
- Over 440 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:
In a recent op-ed published in the New York Post, Governor Abbott defends Texas’ authority to secure the border amid President Biden’s continued refusal to enforce federal immigration laws. Last month, President Biden’s Department of Justice sued Texas for deploying floating marine barriers in the Rio Grande River as part of the state’s heightened deterrence effort.
“In accordance with the U.S. Constitution, as commander in chief of Texas’ militia I have asserted our state’s sovereign interest to protect our borders,” writes Governor Abbott. “The Biden Administration has left border states like Texas to fend for themselves amid the escalating crisis and is now misapplying some obscure statute to keep Texas from using the marine barriers to deter more illegal border crossings into our state. But let me be clear: We will continue to deploy every lawful tool and strategy to protect Texans. Critics of Texas’ border security mission have one thing right: The president has a constitutional responsibility to enforce existing federal immigration laws and protect the sovereignty of our homeland and the safety of our citizens. Until then, Texas will not bow to relentless Mexican cartels or the strongarm tactics of a negligent administration.”
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez spoke with Fox 7 Austin about the unprecedented actions Governor Abbott has taken to secure the border in President Biden’s absence, including the deployment in July of floating marine barriers in the Rio Grande River. Lt. Olivarez explained DPS has recently been experiencing between 5,000-6,000 daily encounters along the southwest border, but encounters with armed gunmen have become more common for law enforcement along the border.
“We still have a serious border situation with so many people who are still crossing between the ports of entry,” said Lt. Olivarez. “The specific area where the [marine barrier] is placed right now is where we were seeing large groups of people that were crossing by the hundreds, even thousands, at the time. Now that the marine barrier has been put in place at that area in Eagle Pass, those crossings have been diverted to other areas, which has reduced the number of people coming across.”
A human smuggler is facing charges after a high-speed pursuit in Hidalgo County this week. The smuggler, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, evaded DPS personnel and eventually bailed out near the Rio Grande River, attempting to swim back to Mexico.
DPS troopers and Texas National Guard soldiers were able to capture him after a brief struggle. He is charged with evading arrest, smuggling of persons, and assault on a public servant. One illegal immigrant was also apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.
An 18-year-old human smuggler from Laredo is charged with evading arrest and smuggling of persons after leading DPS troopers on a high-speed pursuit in Webb County. The teen drove through a neighborhood, where he eventually stopped and allowed several illegal immigrants to bail out. He was eventually arrested. The illegal immigrants crossed the Rio Grande back into Mexico.
Texas National Guard soldiers continue to deter and repel illegal river crossings in the Rio Grande River into Texas. With support from other states’ National Guards, Texas’ border security efforts are leading to a noticeable decrease in illegal activity near Laredo.
“I do believe the Texas National Guard is making a difference in this area,” said Spc. Colter Hardcastle, Task Force Center, Laredo. “When I first came out here two years ago, this area was very hot with activity like illegal crossings and drug smuggling. From two years ago, the number of illegal crossings and drug smuggling have greatly decreased from what I’ve seen.”
On Wednesday, Texas National Guard soldiers and law enforcement partners apprehended 17 individuals found near a known illegal immigrant stash house in the Laredo area that lacked running water and restrooms and had limited power. An anonymous tip from the Crime Stoppers Program in the Laredo area led to the discovery.
“The house was very small, and living conditions were bad,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vasquez, Platoon Sergeant for Alpha Company’s second platoon. “There were signs that the group was one of many utilizing the house in recent days."
DPS Troopers Arrest Gulf Cartel Scout Guiding Six Migrants Across River
DPS Brush Team members in the Rio Grande Valley assisted in tracking a group of illegal immigrants who had just crossed the Rio Grande River. The guide from Mexico was arrested and is charged with smuggling of persons. Further investigation confirmed that he serves as a scout and smuggling guide for the Gulf Cartel. Six illegal immigrants were also referred to Border Patrol.