Operation Lone Star Officers Apprehend More Human Smugglers

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(Bethany Blankley, The Center Square) – Texas Department of Public Safety officers working in Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, continue to apprehend human smugglers at the border.

Smugglers are being apprehended multiple ways, by DPS brush teams and by troopers performing traffic stops and vehicle inspections. Nearly all offenders are military aged men who also seek to evade capture, authorities say.

In Brownsville, a DPS brush team arrested a 17-year-old male smuggling guide who DPS said was responsible for leading several foreign nationals across the Rio Grande River from Mexico to illegally enter Texas between ports of entry. DPS troopers and drone operators found him hiding inside a shed at the border.

DPS charged Luis Alberto Torres, from Matamoros, Mexico, with felony human smuggling and he was transported to the Cameron County jail.

In a separate three-day operation, a DPS brush team in the Rio Grande Valley arrested seven human smuggling foot guides, all Mexican nationals. Also in a separate operation, they arrested another Mexican citizen, Gabriel Gutierrez-Perez, after he was seen being picked up by a human smuggler while crossing the Rio Grande River on a jet ski. DPS later discovered that he was wanted in Florida for allegations of sexual assault on a child, child molestation, and sexual battery on a child. He also had a full extradition warrant.

In traffic stops, DPS officers apprehended smugglers who were both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens heading north from the border after picking up people who’d illegally entered between ports of entry.

In Webb County, a DPS officer stopped a driver of a Lincoln Navigator heading north on I-35 from Laredo to San Antonio. As soon as the driver pulled over, multiple Mexican nationals bailed out of the vehicle and ran toward the brush.

The driver, from Laredo, was arrested and charged with smuggling of persons. DPS troopers apprehended and referred seven Mexican nationals to Border Patrol.

During a traffic stop in Webb County, multiple illegal immigrants, from Mexico, bailed out of a Lincoln Navigator and ran toward the brush.

The driver, from Laredo, was arrested and charged with smuggling of persons. DPS Troopers apprehended and referred seven illegal immigrants to Border Patrol.

In La Salle County, DPS troopers foiled another human smuggling attempt, apprehending 23 illegal foreign nationals.

DPS engaged in pursuit on I-35 north to San Antonio after a driver of a truck tractor towing a flatbed trailer failed to stop for a commercial vehicle safety inspection. The driver ultimately pulled over, jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the brush.

DPS troopers, joined by La Salle County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Border Patrol agents, found 23 illegal foreign nationals hiding in the floor of the flatbed trailer without proper ventilation. They included 15 men, six women and two juveniles who illegally entered the country from Mexico. They are citizens of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, DPS says. One individual was treated for dehydration and transported to a local hospital. All 23 illegally in the country were referred to Border Patrol.

DPS Troopers were led on a short pursuit after the driver of a white-truck tractor towing a flatbed trailer failed to stop for a DPS commercial vehicle safety inspection in La Salle County. The driver finally stopped and fled the vehicle on foot. DPS Troopers and law enforcement agency partners then discovered 23 illegal immigrants concealed in the floor of the vehicle’s flatbed trailer without proper ventilation.

The group of illegal immigrants included 15 males, six females and two juveniles from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. One illegal immigrant was treated for dehydration and transported to a local hospital. All 23 were referred to Border Patrol.

In Vale Verde County, while conducting a traffic stop, a DPS trooper observed multiple people crammed in the rear area of a Chevrolet Tahoe.

When asked what the driver, Amy Nicole Martinez from San Angelo, was doing 160 miles south from her home, she said she “came down to visit.” She also appeared to not know where she was, saying she was “in Del Rio, El Paso,” which are over 425 miles apart. The trooper ascertained she had been in Eagle Pass, in Maverick County, two counties south from Val Verde County where she was pulled over.

After getting out of the vehicle, the front seat passenger, Jaron Markeis Daniels from Dallas, ran toward a local neighborhood. He was pursued on foot by another DPS officer and apprehended.

Others in the vehicle also bailed out and were apprehended, including one that ran into oncoming traffic.

Martinez was charged with five counts of smuggling of persons. Daniels was charged with five counts of smuggling of persons, evading arrest, and resisting arrest.

Four illegal foreign nationals were referred to U.S. Border Patrol. One, a Mexican national, Jesus Aguilar-Aguilar, was charged with evading arrest, assault on a public servant, and resisting arrest after he briefly struggled with a trooper.

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