(Photo above courtesy of Getty Images)
PLEASE NOTE: As of May 31, 2023, this page has moved and will no longer be updated. Please visit www.dps.texas.gov/operationlonestar for the latest news about Operation Lone Star and DPS' work under this border mission.
As part of Operation Lone Star (OLS) 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.
OPERATION LONE STAR: QUICK FACTS
- Since Operation Lone Star began in early March 2021, there have been more than 28,560 criminal arrests, including 6,816 for criminal trespassing. 25,871 felony charges have been filed.
- The department has seized more than 416 million lethal doses of fentanyl statewide.
- In addition, there have been more than 376,200 illegal immigrant apprehensions and referrals.
Numbers as of May 11, 2023
OPERATION LONE STAR: NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT
- Operation Lone Star Busts Mexican Drug Cartels’ Expanding Reach (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | February 10, 2023)
New Texas Border Czar Joins Operation Lone Star Mission (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | February 3, 2023)
“As an award-winning Border Patrol Agent, with decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience, Mike is the perfect choice to oversee Texas' fight against the surge of illegal immigration, lethal drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation,” said Governor Abbott.
- Governor Abbott Tours Enhanced Border Assets Ahead Of Title 42 Ending (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | December 16, 2022)
"The State of Texas continues taking unprecedented action to deescalate and decrease the influx of dangerous criminals, illegal weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl into our country," said Governor Abbott.
- Texas Leads Fight Against Growing National Fentanyl Crisis (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | December 2, 2022)
During a press conference following the tour, Governor Abbott detailed the decisive actions taken by the State of Texas to combat the growing national fentanyl crisis, including designating Mexican drug cartels as a terrorist organizations, signing legislation into law that makes it a felony to make or distribute fentanyl, and launching the "One Pill Kills" campaign to raise awareness of this deadly drug across the state.
- Governor Abbott Orders DPS, TMD To Use Every Available Strategy To Combat Border Crisis (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | November 16, 2022)
Governor Greg Abbott today ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Texas Military Department (TMD) to expand their unprecedented efforts to combat the growing illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter to DPS Director Steve McCraw and TMD Adjutant General Thomas Suelzer, the Governor outlined the need for the Operation Lone Star partners to defend Texas against what amounts to an invasion of America's southern border.
- Governor Abbott Launches “One Pill Kills” Statewide Campaign (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | October 17, 2022)
Governor Greg Abbott today announced the launch of the State of Texas' coordinated "One Pill Kills" campaign to combat the growing national fentanyl crisis plaguing Texas and the United States. This announcement comes after Governor Abbott directed state agencies to ramp up efforts to combat the deadly fentanyl crisis last month.
"Fentanyl remains the single deadliest drug threat our state and nation has ever encountered, killing four Texans every day," said Governor Abbott. "Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, with Mexican drug cartels strategically manufacturing and distributing the drug disguised as painkillers, stimulants, anti-anxiety drugs, and even candy.
To learn more about DPS' efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis, visit our One Pill Kills webpage.
- Operation Lone Star Mission Expands As Biden Ends Title 42 Expulsions (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | April 8, 2022)
Governor Abbott announced 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.
- Operation Lone Star Continues To Save Lives, Take Drugs Off The Streets, Apprehend Traffickers (Office of Governor Greg Abbott | April 1, 2022)
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.
- Governor Abbott, DPS, Texas National Guard Mark One Year Anniversary Of Operation Lone Star (March 4, 2022)
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.
"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.”
- Governor Abbott Announces Expansion Of Operation Lone Star To Include Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts
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.
- Governor Abbott Hosts Border Security Summit, Announces Comprehensive Border Security Plan To Crack Down On Unlawful Border Crossings
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:
- March 14, 2022: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- Jan. 13, 2022: Smuggler Hides Illegal Immigrants Inside Plywood Crates (DPS South Texas Region)
- Jan. 11, 2022: Smuggler Conceals 28 Illegal Immigrants Inside Tractor-Trailer (DPS South Texas Region)
- Dec. 14, 2021: DPS Discovers 100 Illegal Immigrants in Semi-Trailer (DPS South Texas Region)
- Sept. 13, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- Sept. 12, 2021: DPS Seizes More Than 600 Pounds of Marijuana (DPS South Texas Region)
- July 7, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Weapons and Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- July 5, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Cash Seizure in Maverick County (DPS South Texas Region)
- June 30, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of More than $300,000 (DPS South Texas Region)
- June 20, 2021: DPS Pursuit Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- June 12, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Stash House (DPS South Texas Region)
- June 11, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to More than $100k Cash Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- June 7, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Weapons Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- May 23, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- May 21, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Weapons Seizure During OLS (DPS South Texas Region)
- May 7, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
- April 28, 2021: DPS Traffic Stop in Webb County Leads to Drug Seizure (DPS South Texas Region)
OPERATION LONE STAR: NEWS COVERAGE
Check out some of the recent news coverage of Operation Lone Star below.
Lt. Olivarez joined Fox News to discuss the threat to public safety that comes from having an open border and the importance of the work being done under Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star to secure the border and protect Texas communities.
"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."
Elite DPS Team Guards Against Illegal Immigrants Trespassing on Private Property as Part of Operation Lone Star
- FOX News: Fentanyl at the border
"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."
- FOX News: Exclusive: Texas agents bust human smuggling operation at border
- Washington Examiner: Texas authorities apprehended 165,000 at border under state effort
"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."
“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."
- KENS 5: 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: DPS troopers patrolling border from the sky as 1,000 migrants illegally cross border per day, officials say
- Townhall: The Lone Star State Steps Up to the Plate to Tackle Illegal Immigration Surge As Feds Are Overwhelmed
"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."
- Wichita Falls Times Record News: Clay County trooper 'held the baby like a football' to rescue her from drowning
"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."
"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."
"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.”
"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."
"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."
"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."
- View Getty Images here.