AUSTIN – 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 323,000 migrant apprehensions and more than 21,600 criminal arrests, with more than 19,200 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 3,700 migrants to New York City since August 5, and more than 1,200 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:
Texas National Guard Soldiers Assist In Seizure Of 100 lbs. Of Marijuana
Texas National Guard soldiers assisted law enforcement with the seizure of 100 lbs. of marijuana and the apprehension of four illegal immigrants. After crossing the border, two illegal immigrants attempted to evade federal law enforcement agents. Soldiers moved south to intercept the remaining two illegal immigrants on foot.
The four smugglers were in possession of two 50-pound bundles of marijuana with an approximate street value of $150,000.
DPS Stops Drug Smuggling Attempt, Seizes Nearly 300 Lbs. Of Marijuana
DPS troopers noticed a blacked-out ATV leaving the river and travelling toward them. The ATV struck the patrol unit, causing one passenger to be thrown off the ATV. Border Patrol apprehended two of the male suspects after they attempted to run. Troopers uncovered and seized bundles with nearly 300 pounds of marijuana.
A DPS Tactical Flight Officer working as part of Operation Lone Star discovered 300 lbs. of marijuana in a remote section of Big Bend National Park after tracking footprints for four miles. Five bundles each weighing about 60 pounds were discovered in compressed sacks spray-painted to blend in with the terrain.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez told Fox News the Big Bend region is frequented by drug smugglers because of the harsh, remote terrain. During the extreme summer months, illegal immigrants have also died attempting the trek from Mexico through the region.
A human smuggler led a DPS trooper on a high-speed vehicle pursuit in Hidalgo County. After crashing into a gate, the smuggler bailed out and ran into a gated community. Eight illegal immigrants also bailed out and ran.
The smuggler was arrested and charged with human smuggling. All eight illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.
DPS Apprehends 34 Illegal Immigrants On Board Stationary Train, Nearby Culvert
While serving the Operation Lone Star mission, DPS Special Operations Group personnel and Border Patrol agents encountered a group of illegal immigrants on board a stationary train and nearby culvert. A total of 34 illegal immigrants from Mexico were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.
As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas National Guard recently expanded its area of operations to assist DPS in addressing the surge in illegal immigration and border activity in the El Paso region. Soldiers continue assisting DPS troopers in deterring and disrupting transnational criminal activity, such as human smuggling. Soldiers described one recent duty monitoring a storm drain where several illegal immigrants had been hiding.
“Success for us is close partnership with DPS and being able to quickly react to what their needs are for public safety,” said Col. Brian Fletcher, Operation Lone Star deputy commander of operations. “Success is in active deterrents, being able to observe, report, and improve the response time.”
“Having soldiers here helps to increase the amount of surveillance we can conduct on some of these areas so we can identify other smuggling locations,” said Jose Sanchez, DPS regional director in El Paso. “With the coordination with [the Texas Military Department] and DPS, we can identify some of the vehicle or groups that are crossing and easily intercept them.”
DPS troopers apprehended six illegal immigrants during a traffic stop in Kinney County. The Arkansas driver and passenger, who was also a fugitive, were both arrested for human smuggling. All six illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.