(The Center Square) – Texas law enforcement officers working under Operation Lone Star continue to thwart criminal activity on the Texas-Mexico border, including interdicting smugglers and kidnappers .
Since Governor Greg Abbott launched the Texas Border Security Initiative last March, state law enforcement officers have apprehended more than 308,700 illegal alien nationals and made more than 20,200 arrests criminal cases, including more than 17,900 for felony.
More recently, DPS soldiers arrested a Mexican national in Mission, Texas after he attempted to take a gun from a Texas National Guard soldier. After arresting 45-year-old Mexican national Ricardo Jaime-Ruiz, DPS learned he was a previously deported felon.
Ruiz allegedly committed the crime while a National Guard soldier was helping Border Patrol agents apprehend a large group of people who entered the United States illegally near Bentsen Palm Community Park in Mission, Texas. Ruiz fled, attempting to evade capture. The soldier gave verbal orders to stop, but instead Ruiz grabbed the soldier’s M-4 rifle with both hands. He tried to take the weapon but was stopped by other soldiers.
On September 24 in Weslaco at Mid Valley Airport, DPS Special Agents noticed several vehicles arriving and dropping off seven people who were boarding a Raytheron aircraft. Officers apprehended them and discovered that one of them was an American citizen who was coordinating the smuggling operation; six were foreign nationals illegally brought to Houston.
Among them were four male and two female citizens of El Salvador and Mexico who had fake Texas IDs. One of the men was a previously deported felon wanted in Wisconsin for child molestation.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez told Fox News, “We’re starting to see an increase in planes that are being used to smuggle illegal immigrants further into the state of Texas and then from there they go further far inside. There is no way to know who these individuals are unless we catch them in the act, apprehend them, and control them. This is how we were able to identify this individual with a warrant for sexual assault.
In Hidalgo County, near La Joya, Texas National Guard soldiers helped Border Patrol agents apprehend five felons who were trying to evade capture after illegally crossing the Rio Grande. According to soldiers patrolling the area, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of illegal crossings and subsequent arrests over the past week. Soldiers are also noticing an increase in the number of criminals fleeing arrest.
“We had a total of 109 people we detained, and more than half were criminal apprehensions,” said Staff Sgt. Juan Aldana, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry, said, according to a statement from the governor’s office. He described a typical shift night, saying, “We received a call from a Border Patrol agent trying to apprehend a combative criminal. We rushed over there and surrounded him and were able to hold him down safely.
Further west in Webb County in Laredo, DPS agents discovered 50 illegal aliens hiding in an 18-wheeler, including 37 men, 11 women and two minors. A US citizen and a Mexican national were arrested for human trafficking, the others were referred to Border Patrol.
DPS special agents also recently found 43 people at a Webb County hideout, including 24 men, 17 women and two minors. All were citizens of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who had entered the United States illegally and were referred to Border Patrol.
The DPS says it is seeing a trend of using rental houses as hideouts to hide people, drugs and smuggled weapons. DPS advises landlords to look for red flags such as tenants paying cash and offering multiple payments up front.
“For the most part, what we found in these specific cases is that the owners are not directly involved,” DPS Sergeant Erick Estrada told KGNS News Laredo. “It’s directly with the tenant, with whoever is renting the property. People should know who they are renting their property to.”
Further west in Kinney County, DPS soldiers interdicted another smuggling event after discovering 10 people, including a child, hiding inside a Penske van. The driver was charged with human trafficking and the 10 illegal foreign nationals were referred to Border Patrol.
In nearby Del Rio, DPS soldiers found 11 illegal foreign nationals hiding inside a van truck during a traffic stop. In another traffic stop, officers arrested a driver from California who was trying to smuggle 10 people into the United States. The drivers were charged with human trafficking; all others were referred to Border Patrol.
Further west, in El Paso, DPS soldiers discovered a kidnapped 18-month-old baby during a traffic stop. The baby was in poor health and was taken to hospital for treatment before being handed over to child protective services. The driver and teenage passenger face charges of human trafficking and aggravated kidnapping.
“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous voids left by the Biden administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott said. In a recent Washington Times ophe wrote, “Whether President Biden sees the border crisis as Texas’s problem or is simply politically inconvenient for him to do his job, mass illegal immigration is a humanitarian crisis for those who put their lives between the hands of coyotes or ruthless smugglers and a national security crisis for all Americans.
“The border crisis is not for Texas or any other border state to handle alone. It is for our nation’s leaders to uphold the rule of law that makes America so great.”