Operation Lone Star in the News

March 24, 2021
Operation Lone Star

(Photo above courtesy of Getty Images)

As part of Operation Lone Star and under the direction of Governor Abbott, DPS continues its presence, including air, ground, marine and tactical security assets, along the border to combat the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas.

Governor Abbott announced on Wednesday aggressive actions by the State of Texas to secure the border in the wake of President Biden's decision to end Title 42 expulsions. Governor Abbott has directed TDEM to charter buses and flights to transport migrants to Washington, D.C. Governor Abbott has also directed DPS to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles, effective immediately, as they cross international ports of entry into Texas.

Governor Abbott also announced additional strategies being deployed immediately to secure the border. DPS and the Texas Military Department (TMD) are preparing additional boat blockades, deploying razor-wire at low-water crossings and high-traffic areas, and installing container blockades to stem the flow of illegal crossings. Additionally, all DPS troopers and specially trained Texas National Guard soldiers will be given riot gear in case of violence among caravans and migrants.

OLS Update

Governor Greg Abbott, 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 (OLS), multi-agency efforts have led to more than 225,000 migrant apprehensions, along with more than 13,027 criminal arrests — and more than 10,400 felony charges. Over 3,500 weapons and almost $30 million in currency have been seized. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 289 million lethal doses throughout the state.

Operation Lone Star

Officially launched on March 4, 2021, Operation Lone Star integrates DPS assets, including Texas Highway Patrol Troopers, Special Agents, Texas Rangers, Rotary and Fixed Winged Aircraft and Tactical Boat Teams, along with the Texas National Guard and local law enforcement to secure the border.

"Texans have never backed down from a challenge, and we won't start now, because our efforts are stemming the tide of illegal drugs and criminals flooding into Texas. Thank you to the many men and women who are protecting our southern border, including the DPS troopers, Texas National Guardsmen, Texas sheriffs, and all the law enforcement officers who serve and protect us every day." - Governor Abbott

Governor Abbott released a video to commemorate the achievements of the mission, Texas law enforcement, and soldiers.

Gov. Abbott Video Message Abbott video

"I want to say thank you to the men and women of the Texas Department of Public Safety for all that you do to keep Texans safe. DPS has a legendary place in Texas history, and at this moment in time, you play a more pivotal role than ever before as we work to secure the border through Operation Lone Star. Your work to secure the border, arrest dangerous criminals and crack down on human traffickers is saving lives, and it is making a difference in making our communities safer. Texas thanks you for your service."

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today launched Operation Lone Star to combat the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas. The Operation integrates DPS with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.

“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”

OOG OLS

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the expansion of Operation Lone Star to include efforts to crack down on human trafficking related to illegal border crossings. As part of this expansion, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and agents, as well as the Texas Rangers, will conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to identify victims of human trafficking and gain actionable intelligence that will aid in the arrest of traffickers.

OLS-June 10

Governor Greg Abbott today hosted a Border Security Summit in Del Rio where he announced a new comprehensive border security plan to crack down on illegal border crossings in Texas. The Governor was joined for the summit by Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Major General Tracy Norris of the Texas Military Department, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. 

Operation Lone Star, DPS Regional Coverage:

Check out some of the recent news coverage of Operation Lone Star below.

FOX News OLS - Fox News Lt. OLS KGNS

"Carter reported the Texas DPS seized 918 lbs of fentanyl in 2021, which officials said was only a small portion of what has come over the porous border."

FOX News https://www.foxnews.com/media/sara-carter-investigates-exclusive-access-texas-dps-fentanyl-seizures?fbclid=IwAR0ohxvp3sddPIjlLOZh0Bhb9_VaIvxGmQ_q5KBl63Buf-kkmK9UeM-xMEA

Elite DPS Team Guards Against Illegal Immigrants Trespassing on Private Property as Part of Operation Lone Star

FOX Migrants battle river currents to reach Texas FOX Fentanyl at the border - how to stem the flow Texas lines up boats to stem flow of undocumented immigrants over Rio Grande

"Under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s command, the Department of Public Safety has formed a boat blockade on the Rio Grande to keep undocumented migrants out of South Texas.

"DPS officials on Sunday posted a video taken by air showing at least 17 boats spaced out on the U.S. side of the river near the town of La Joya.

"A DPS Tweet called the “enhanced operations” necessary “to stop the flow of migrants entering TX illegally.” And it said the “heavy presence on the river” is part of Operation Lone Star, a state-funded Abbott-led initiative to guard the Texas-Mexico border."

Smugglers making millions off border crisis: Lt. Chris Olivarez Exclusive: Texas agents bust human smuggling operation at border

"Texas law enforcement and soldiers sent to the border under a state initiative that began in March have encountered more than 165,000 people presumed to have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border or are themselves smuggling people, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"Lt. Chris Olivarez, spokesman for the Texas DPS’s South Region, said during a press conference Thursday that his agency's troopers, along with National Guard soldiers, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have apprehended and referred 165,000 people to relevant law enforcement for arrest over the past nine months."

Human and Drug smuggling continues at the border Crackdown on illegal immigration focuses on ranches in Kinney, Val Verde Counties

“Some of the landowners were voicing concerns that illegal immigrants were trespassing on their property, damaging their fences. They didn't feel safe around their homes because of these illegal immigrants who were coming across,” said Olivarez.

"Olivarez said troopers have arrested migrants who have criminal records, and criminal gang members including MS-13 and cartel members.   He said some of the migrants have become aggressive when approached by officers.

“They resist our law enforcement. There's been several incidents where they throw rocks at our law enforcement personnel because again, they're trying to avoid apprehension,” said Olivarez."

Lt. Chris Olivarez raises concern over 'criminal gang members' crossing the border DPS: Arresting migrants for criminal trespass is deterring more from making the journey to the US

“The landowners there were getting frustrated. They had these illegal immigrants that were coming across in their property, destroying their properties. They didn't feel safe at their homes,” said Olivarez. “So, Texas had to step in, and that’s why we deployed DPS. We were able to get consent to be on those properties to make arrests for criminal trespass, as well as the rail yards.”

"Olivarez said the majority of the migrants who have moved through the Val Verde County processing facility were arrested for trespassing on private ranchlands and on the trains.

“These are individuals who are avoiding detection, avoiding law enforcement,” said Olivarez. “These are the single adults that are trying to get across and move further inland.”

 

KENS 5 OLS

 

"In March, Gov. Greg Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star to address the surge that seems to have only gotten worse as the months have gone on. Similar to what I have heard from Border Patrol agents, the different state troopers I spoke with said they have never seen such a stark uptick in illegal activity at the border as to what they are seeing now. ...

"U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed with the constant illegal entries that are taking place because it involves a lot of processing, a lot of hours. That can't be ignored, that is a crisis. There is a problem right now. I know conversations have been out there that the border is closed. The border is not closed when you have 2,000 illegal entries taking place daily," said Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a DPS spokesman."

FOX News Chase Pursuit screenshot OLS OLS CBS News screenshots BP Agents Need Support Screenshot Weapons Seizure Newsroom Screenshot NBC NewsFOX News OLS OLS Fox News OLS Fox News OLS Fox News OLS

"A Clay County trooper rescued a 6-month-old girl and her mother from drowning after smugglers threw them out of a raft floating in the Rio Grande, Texas officials said."

OLS

"On March 16, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s South Texas Special Operations Group helped U.S. Border Patrol rescue a 6-month old girl from the Rio Grande River.

"Texas DPS Lt. Christopher Olivarez told KVEO that the mother and child had been waiting in Mexico since December to cross into the U.S.

"The mother paid smugglers $3,500 to cross the Rio Grande River into the U.S. The mom was assaulted by the smugglers in Mexico, which resulted in a broken leg, according to Olivarez."

OLS Interview
    Reuters OLS
    (Photo courtesy of Reuters)
    OLS CNN AP Story: Border crossings strain resources in Rio Grande Valley

    "Victor Escalon, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, says he worried the more people are smuggled across the Rio Grande, the more opportunities for criminal organizations to flourish in the area.

    “As a parent, as a human being, you want to make sure (migrant children) are cared for. They are kids. They don’t know any different,” he said. “But the more people you bring across, the individuals who are in charge of coordinating the criminal element, the smuggling of narcotics they are going to look for opportunities.”

    KRGV: DPS ride-along: Seeing the latest migrant surge in the Valley

    "While the press continues to get limited access to operations at the Donna tent facility, Texas State troopers allowed Channel 5 News to see first-hand what’s happening on the border during the migrant surge … In just two weeks since the start of Operation Lone Star, state police has been involved in 34 vehicle pursuits and has referred 8,000 migrants to Border Patrol. Although Texas DPS cannot enforce U.S. immigration laws, their presence aims to serve as a deterrent to drug and human traffickers."

    NBC Border Footage KENS5: A glimpse at who is coming across the border, and who is guarding it, during a crisis

    "There was a gaggle of us, journalists, who couldn’t be along the banks of the river at several points of migrant crossings without the escort of either local, state or federal law enforcement. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers took us on a tour. On March 6, Gov. Greg Abbott and DPS launched Operation Lone Star. What we saw on this day was part of that effort."

    FOX News Today Show

    "In a bird’s-eye view of the surge of migrants at the Southern border, new camera images show dozens of people, including families, crossing into the U.S. within minutes. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports for TODAY from Laredo, Texas."