DPS troopers working with local law enforcement through Operation Lone Star are filling “the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Gov. Greg Abbott said when giving an update on OLS accomplishments. “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.”
In Hidalgo County, DPS troopers pursued a human smuggler who wouldn’t pull over and led a high-speed chase. Eventually, the driver pulled over and several illegal foreign nationals bailed out and ran into the brush. One trooper apprehended one of them but five ran away, DPS said. The driver sped on and was eventually stopped after another trooper deployed a tire deflation device. The driver also attempted to run but was caught and charged with human smuggling and evading arrest.
In another traffic stop in Hidalgo County, during a commercial vehicle inspection, a DPS trooper seized more than 45 pounds of cocaine. He first stopped a blue Kenworth semi-trailer on U.S. 281 to inspect the vehicle, then learned the driver had a canceled commercial driver’s license. Once he identified more discrepancies, he requested a K-9, which found the cocaine. The drugs were hidden inside 17 tape-wrapped packages and estimated to have a street value of more than $500,000, authorities said. The 27-year-old driver from Pharr was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and transported to the Hidalgo County Jail.
Several hundred miles northwest in Kinney County, DPS troopers pulled over a driver of a U-Haul van. They discovered three illegal foreign nationals hidden under blankets inside the van. The driver, a woman from Georgia, was attempting to transport them to Austin. She told the trooper, “They said they needed a ride, their car had broken down a couple miles back,” authorities said. She also said she didn’t know them. She was charged with human smuggling and those inside were turned over to Border Patrol.
In LaSalle County, DPS troopers found 18 Mexicans who’d illegally entered Texas hidden inside the cab of a semi-trailer during a commercial motor vehicle inspection on I-35. The driver, from Mississippi, was attempting to smuggle them to San Antonio, authorities said. Instead, he was charged with human smuggling, and everyone inside was turned over to Border Patrol.
In Webb County, DPS found 52 illegal foreign nationals hidden inside a Conex cargo container at a junkyard. Special agents from DPS’ Criminal Investigations Division found a semi-trailer that the Laredo Police Department had reported stolen. They suspected it was being used to stash people who’d entered Texas illegally. As agents approached the trailer, several people fled and five were apprehended.
The officers then searched the property and found several dozen more people hidden inside a cargo container. They included 35 men, 10 women, and 8 juveniles from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. All were turned over to Border Patrol. CID special agents are investigating the case to determine how the people got there and who was involved with their alleged smuggling.
DPS, the Texas National Guard, and local law enforcement, working with Border Patrol, on a daily basis are attempting to stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas and to prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry, the governor’s office says.
Since Abbott launched OLS last March, officers have apprehended more than 328,000 illegal foreign nationals, made over 22,100 criminal arrests, with more than 19,600 felony charges reported. They’ve also seized more than 353 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill everyone in the United States.