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Troopers report data for six months’ work
The Texas Department of Public Safety released the latest figures for the border initiative program Operation Lone Star on Thursday, September 2.
The operation was launched earlier this year by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to combat a spike in the number of human smuggling cases along the Texas-Mexico border and a reported surge in the quantity of narcotics and contraband being carried into the country.
The operation integrates DPS with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine and tactical border security assets to the Mexican border.
Operation Lone Star began in March, and in its first six months state troopers have made 5,298 criminal arrests, apprehended over 64,900 illegal immigrants, were involved in 694 vehicle pursuits, seized 1,500 firearms and over 8,300 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine, according to investigators.
US currency seized in the intervention operation has topped $14.7 million.
Three days after the data was reported, Highway Patrol troopers in Kinney County apprehended 12 illegal immigrants found walking along the railroad tracks.
During the interview with the men, troopers discovered a member of the violent Los Angeles 18th Street criminal gang, a convicted felon.
Data reported from Operation Lone Star also shows troopers have encountered over 700 criminal gang members in South Texas since the operation began.
Since Gov. Abbott’s executive order to charge anyone entering the country illegally, the agency has made over 800 arrests for criminal trespass.
Within the first two months of the operation’s launch, DPS officers had made 598 criminal arrests and over 16,000 referrals of undocumented immigrants to the US Department of Customs and Border Protection.
At the time, only 9 gang members had been arrested.
Troopers working Operation Lone Star captured a ‘Texas Top 10’ fugitive, Eric Munoz, a confirmed Valluco gang member who was wanted for a parole violation, according to the department.
Munoz had an extensive record of criminal charges that included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated sexual assault, assault causing bodily injury, evading arrest, theft, drunk driving, criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance.
The Texas Military Department (TMD) and DPS are launching a weekly media briefing to discuss the progress of Operation Lone Star.
“Texas continues to work diligently to secure our southern border under the leadership of Gov. Abbott,” DPS Director Steven McCraw noted in a prepared statement. “These briefings provide an opportunity for us to share tangible evidence of how combined local and state operations being conducted are protecting communities.”
The first briefing is slated for Thursday, September 16 at the DPS’ regional headquarters in Weslaco.