Operation Lone Star: More than 30,000 foreign nationals turned back to Mexico
Texas “continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
(The Center Square) -
Texas law enforcement working through Operation Lone Star have turned back more than 30,000 foreign nationals to Mexico as of March 24.
Since March 2021, officers have apprehended over 359,000 illegal foreign nationals and made over 26,000 criminal arrests, with more than 23,000 felony charges reported. They’ve also seized more than 373 million lethal doses of fentanyl, more than enough to kill everyone in the United States.
“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “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 the first five months of fiscal 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety and National Guard members have apprehended more than 4,300 Chinese nationals at the southwest border, with over 1,300 reported last month alone.
This represents a 900% increase in Chinese national apprehensions at the southern border over the year.
“Cartels are profiting off the influx by charging Chinese individuals,” Abbott said, charging “$35,000 to $50,000 a person to be smuggled into the country.”
He made the announcement after U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas apprehended 90 Chinese nationals illegally entering the U.S. in the Rio Grande Valley last Thursday, a record.
Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Gloria Chavez said it was the greatest number of Chinese apprehended in a single day by RGV agents since 2010, bringing the total number of Chinese nationals apprehended in the sector this fiscal year to date to 1,667.
The RGV Sector in Texas leads the U.S. in Chinese apprehensions with 91% of those apprehended being single adults. Apprehensions so far this fiscal year are also a 930% increase compared to the same time frame last year, Chavez said.
OLS law enforcement officers continue to apprehend human smugglers.
In Kinney County, during a high-speed pursuit, Texas DPS eventually apprehended a human smuggler from Dallas. Once the pursuit ended with the driver pulling the truck over to the side of the road, the driver and five illegal foreign nationals hiding inside bailed out attempting to evade arrest. They were all caught, law enforcement said.
The driver was charged with evading arrest and smuggling of persons. All five illegal foreign nationals were referred to Border Patrol.
“Kinney County has seen a dramatic increase in illegal alien activity,” Kinney County Sherrif Brad Coe told The Center Square. The number of people trespassing on private property caught on game cameras currently averages 165 people a night, he said. These are considered “gotaways,” he said, people who intentionally seek to evade capture by law enforcement.
The numbers are on track for an estimated 60,225 foreign nationals projected to walk through the county evading law enforcement this calendar year, he said – that's nearly 20 times the population of the county.
In neighboring Val Verde County, DPS troopers uncovered three Mexican nationals hiding in bales of hay being transported in the flat bed of a pickup truck. A trooper engaged in a traffic stop on US-277 and after investigating the truck discovered three Mexican men of military age wearing camouflage hiding inside a hidden compartment under the bales of hay. They’d all illegally entered the U.S. in Texas.
The driver was from Florida, attempting to smuggle them roughly six hours east to Houston. He was apprehended and charged with smuggling of persons.
Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez has been arguing for at least two years that the county is facing “unprecedented challenges.” He argues the border crisis “is not going to stay on the border. It's going to affect all of us in the state of Texas and all of us in the United States.”