Human smugglers are continuing to be apprehended by law enforcement officers working through Texas’ border security mission, Operation Lone Star.
Texas DPS troopers, sheriffs and their deputies, police officers and constables, Border Patrol and other federal agents as well as law enforcement officers from other states are trying to stop Americans and foreign nationals from smuggling people north from the Texas-Mexico border. The smugglers are responding to social media ads from cartels believing they’ll be paid several thousand dollars per person they successfully bring north, law enforcement officers have explained to The Center Square.
Every day, law enforcement officers are finding people, both adults and children, hiding in train cars, inside the beds of pick-up trucks, packed in cars, or hiding in the cabs of semi-trucks. They also find them hiding behind bales of hay, stacked tires, crates of fruit or vegetables in the back of trucks, or inside of moving vans or trucks.
In February, Kinney County Sheriff’s Office deputies apprehended smugglers from Houston who’d stuffed a 5-year-old in the trunk. It took three deputies to revive her and save her life. In neighboring Uvalde County, officers and Border Patrol agents found people hiding in grain cars.
Most recently, officers found teenagers stuffed in a car trunk in south Texas where temperatures reach well over 100 degrees.
In Brackettville, Texas, in Kinney County, DPS officers working with Florida troopers recently stopped the driver of an Infinity G35 on Highway 90. When asked if it was his vehicle, the driver said, “no, it’s my friend’s, my brother’s.” He said he was from Dallas and was using an expired California driver’s license.
When the officer asked if he had anything illegal in the car, “No drugs, no weapons, nothing at all?” he replied, “no.”
In response to the driver saying he’d been in neighboring Del Rio that morning, the officer asked him, “How long were you in Del Rio?” He replied, “I just came in for the morning.”
“So you’re heading back to Dallas now?” the officer asked. He replied, “yes.”
The officers then searched the car and found two teenagers in the trunk, age 14 and 16, being smuggled into the U.S. The passenger, a female, was also in the U.S. illegally.
All three were turned over to Border Patrol and the driver was arrested and charged with smuggling of persons.
In Maverick County, DPS troopers working with Florida troopers observed two drivers of a Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Mustang, driving in tandem on FM 418 and pulled them over. After they stopped, several illegal foreign nationals bailed out and ran toward the brush.
One of the drivers, from Houston, said he was being escorted by the driver of the Mustang who spoke no English. Both had Texas driver’s licenses. The one who spoke no English had a Texas ID stating he’s under age 21. Both drivers were arrested and charged with smuggling of persons.
Three Guatemalans who’d illegally entered the country and bailed out from inside the Pathfinder were apprehended and turned over to Border Patrol.
Also in Maverick County, DPS drone operators located a human smuggler who was guiding groups of foreign nationals across the Rio Grande River from Mexico to illegally enter the U.S. in Eagle Pass. A DPS Tactical Marine Unit responded and apprehended the smuggler in the river. Jose Delgado-Zuniga, a Mexican national, was arrested and faces state criminal charges for smuggling of persons.
DPS troopers also rescued two Guatemalan children, ages 8 and 11, at the edge of the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass. They told troopers a woman they didn’t know left them at the edge of the river in Mexico and directed them to cross into Texas.
In neighboring La Salle County, troopers pursued a semi-truck driver heading north on Highway 35 to San Antonio after he refused to stop for a traffic violation. During the pursuit, the driver exceeded 85 mph and drove on the wrong side of the highway. The driver eventually veered off into the brush and numerous illegal foreign nationals bailed out from inside the cab.
The driver, Eduardo Aradas, of Florida, was arrested and faces state criminal charges for smuggling of persons and evading arrest. Twelve foreign nationals who’d illegally entered the U.S. were turned over to Border Patrol.
La Salle County - A @TxDPS pursued a truck tractor on IH-35 after the driver refused to stop for a traffic violation. During the pursuit, the driver reached speeds of 85mph & drove on the wrong side of the highway. The driver & numerous illegal immigrants bailed out. Troopers… pic.twitter.com/0yZSetJc8Z— Chris Olivarez (@LtChrisOlivarez) July 3, 2023
Since Gov. Greg Abbott launched OLS in March 2021, OLS officers have apprehended more than 387,000 illegal foreign nationals and made over 30,400 criminal arrests, with more than 28,500 felony charges reported.
“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,” Abbott said of OLS.