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Operation Lone Star Prevents Cartels Smuggling Illegal Drugs, Weapons

October 7, 2022 | 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 311,000 migrant apprehensions and more than 20,500 criminal arrests, with more than 18,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 337 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.

Texas has also bused over 8,200 migrants to our nation's capital since April, over 3,100 migrants to New York City since August 5, and more than 920 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.


WATCH: Lt. Olivarez Says DPS Seizing Rising Number Of Weapons Crossing Border

DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez told Fox News this week that his agency is observing a significant increase in weapons smuggling. He said DPS has seized thousands of weapons associated with border-related criminal activity statewide, with AR-15s, AK-47s, and 50 caliber rifles among the seized weapons. He also notes that DPS is noticing more smugglers with firearms in the human smuggling attempts involving high-speed chases with DPS troopers.

“We're seeing weapons, human smuggling, and drug smuggling, as well as currency and illicit funds that are being smuggled back into Mexico to supply the cartels,” said Lt. Olivarez. “Cartels have been able to expand their criminal networks throughout the southern border because there is essentially an open border policy, and they’re taking full advantage of that. Policies need to be in place to slow down the flow of mass migration so that law enforcement can focus on the criminal elements.”

DPS Seizes 126 Lbs. Of Cocaine Worth Over $1.2 Million During Traffic Stop

On Wednesday morning, DPS seized 126 lbs. of cocaine after a traffic stop in Hidalgo County. The DPS Criminal Investigations Division with assistance from Texas Highway Patrol stopped a pickup truck towing a travel trailer in McAllen for a traffic violation. During the vehicle inspection, a trooper discovered 55 tape-wrapped bundles containing cocaine concealed in a hidden compartment inside the trailer.

The driver from Michigan was arrested and charged with felony manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance. The seized drugs have a street value of more than $1.2 million.

WATCH: Lt. Olivarez Discusses Recent Increase In Smuggling Attempts By Plane

DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to discuss how the federal government’s open border policies are enabling transnational criminal organizations to expand their enterprises further into the United States by chartering private flights for human smuggling. Within a 30-day timeframe, DPS stopped three separate human smuggling attempts by plane from three different airports in the Rio Grande Valley bound for Houston, a known hub for smuggling.

“The situation of illegal immigrants who are being smuggled on planes by these criminal organizations is a serious threat to national security,” said Lt. Olivarez. “For example, one of those immigrants was in possession of a fraudulent Texas ID card. We apprehended him, and he was a deported felon with an active warrant out of Wisconsin for sexual assault of a child."

WATCH: Texas National Guard Apprehends Gang Members Crossing Border

A Texas National Guard soldier described how the Tactical Response Unit is able to use real data compiled for the week to set up operations in areas where non-family units are coming across the border in order to focus on the criminal side of illegal border crossings. He explained how one recent group they encountered included members of Mexican gangs.

“We’re able to track gang members coming over from the other side [of the border] and apprehend them to take them to the proper areas,” said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Mata.

WATCH: DPS Finds 17 Illegal Immigrants After Vehicle Pursuit Of Gravel Hauler

DPS troopers in Maverick County attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a gravel hauler for a traffic violation. After a vehicle pursuit, the driver bailed out and ran toward the brush.

A total of 17 illegal immigrants were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.

Texas National Guard Platoon Apprehends Over 30 Illegal Immigrants A Week

A Texas National Guard soldier detailed how his platoon apprehends more than 30 to 40 illegal immigrants crossing the border each week, the majority of which are gang members, scouts and lookouts for the gangs, or coyotes charging money to guide illegal immigrants across the border. He notes, however, that soldiers’ proactive approach to patrolling the area near Hidalgo has improved with the help of sensors and cameras, which make locating illegal immigrants more strategic.

“We know a lot of them are gang members because if they get away and get into the river, they throw gang signs and antagonize us,” said Staff Sgt. Riener Mongerson, Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry platoon leader. “We don’t get a lot of people surrendering in our area, mostly people who run.”

WATCH: Teenage Smuggler Leads DPS Troopers On High-Speed Pursuit

An 18-year-old human smuggler led DPS troopers on a high-speed pursuit in Uvalde County. After disabling the vehicle, the smuggler bailed out and was later apprehended.

A total of 13 illegal immigrants from Mexico were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.