WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Military Department (TMD) held their weekly media briefing on Thursday to provide an update on Operation Lone Star.
This was the first briefing following an agreement that will allow border wall construction on state-owned land in the Rio Grande Valley.
The briefing was led by DPS South Texas Region Media Lt. Christopher Olivarez and TMD Major Michael Perry.
Olivarez gave an update on the total number of apprehensions and drugs seized.
According to officials, since March 4, there have been:
- Over 165,000 migrant apprehensions
- Over 1,000 vehicle pursuits
- Over 13,000 pounds of marijuana
- 2,425 pounds of cocaine
- Over 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine
- 157 pounds of fentanyl
- 37 pounds of heroin
- Over $7 million seized
Olivarez spoke of an incident that occurred on Friday, Nov. 26 in Hidalgo County.
A man was transporting 12 migrants before encountering a DPS trooper. He tried to evade law enforcement, and lost control of his vehicle due to excessive speed, according to Olivarez.
Two migrants died as a result of the crash, and 11 were transported to the hospital. The driver was charged with 12 counts of human smuggling and one count of evading arrest causing death.
According to Olivarez, the driver was deported earlier this year to Mexico before entering back into the United States.
Major Perry thanked Gov. Abbott and others for visiting during the holidays.
“We want to thank them because those things help during the holidays for everybody that’s deployed here on the border,” Perry said.
Perry also mentioned that a “temporary infrastructure and barrier” is continuing to be constructed in the Rio Grande Valley in Starr County. He said they are approaching a completion of around six miles, with more land that is ready for construction.
Perry said he could not speak on whether the barrier would be constructed in Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
This was the eighth weekly briefing held by the departments.