Operation Lone Star Turns Back Over 30,000 Illegal Immigrants

March 24, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

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 359,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 26,000 criminal arrests, with more than 23,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 373 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
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.
WATCH: DPS Discusses Record Influx Of Chinese Nationals Illegally Entering
NewsNation correspondent Jorge Ventura reported from Hidalgo this week on the recent spike in illegal border crossings attempted by Chinese nationals. In the first five months of fiscal year 2023, there have been more than 4,300 encounters with Chinese nationals at the southwest border, with over 1,300 reported last month alone. Cartels are profiting off the influx by charging Chinese individuals $35,000 to $50,000 a person to be smuggled into the country and leading to a 900% increase in Chinese national apprehensions at the southern border since last year.
“DPS is dealing with an uptick in Chinese nationals, especially in the Rio Grande Valley sector, which is unusual because before we would never see this many Chinese nationals coming across this area ,” said DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez. “It’s a very lucrative business for cartels.”

WATCH: DPS Details Scope Of Current Border Crisis, Related Fentanyl Crisis
DPS Lt. Olivarez spoke with Fox News this week about the many dangers resulting from President Biden’s ongoing border crisis, including Mexican drug cartels that are more powerful than ever before and deadly fentanyl pouring across the southern border. Texas is working to combat the out-of-control fentanyl crisis, with efforts that include Senate Bill 645 in the current legislative session that would allow prosecutors to charge fentanyl distributors with murder if someone dies from a fentanyl poisoning. 
“We know for a fact that fentanyl is coming across the border, as well as other illicit drugs, and of course the Mexican drug cartels are behind this crisis,” said Lt. Olivarez. “Even though we’ve made significant seizures at the ports of entry, that tells us that the cartels are producing more fentanyl than ever before. Last year, Governor Abbott designated the cartels as terrorist organizations, but we need a federal response to go after these organizations to dismantle the labs in Mexico and stop the flow of chemical precursors that are being imported from China.”


WATCH: Texas National Guard Reaches Over 30,000 Turn Backs
Operation Lone Star has surpassed 30,000 illegal immigrants deterred and turned back to Mexico. Recently, a group of 20 illegal immigrants returned to Mexico’s riverbank after facing law enforcement officers, Texas National Guardsmen, and other layers of physical barriers. Guardsmen work side-by-side with their law enforcement partners to deter illegal entry into the U.S. using radios and roving and static patrols.

WATCH: Human Smuggler Leads DPS On High-Speed Vehicle Pursuit
A human smuggler led DPS troopers on a high-speed pursuit in Kinney County. The driver from Dallas let five illegal immigrants bail out of the vehicle and continued to evade the troopers. He eventually bailed out into the brush before being apprehended.
The driver was charged with evading arrest and smuggling of persons. All five illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.

WATCH: DPS Trooper Finds 3 Illegal Immigrants Hidden In Bales Of Hay In Truck
A DPS Trooper discovered three illegal immigrants from Mexico during a traffic stop in Val Verde County. The trooper stopped a truck carrying bales of hay on US-277 and during the investigation discovered the illegal immigrants were inside a hidden compartment underneath the bales. The driver from Florida was smuggling the illegal immigrants to Houston and is now charged with smuggling of persons.

DPS Locates Nearly 200 Lbs. Of Marijuana In Culberson County
DPS’ Aircraft Operations Division located three bundles of marijuana during Operation Lone Star efforts in Culberson County. The bundles weighed nearly 200 pounds.