(Bethany Blankley, The Center Square) – Texas and Florida state troopers, as well as sheriff’s deputies, continue to apprehend human smugglers in the small border community of Brackettville, in Kinney County, Texas.
A Texas DPS trooper, assisted by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, recently conducted a traffic stop in Brackettville, which led to a human smuggling bust.
The stop occurred at night in a residential neighborhood when a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and FHP trooper pulled over the driver of a Chevrolet Camero.
The driver was a Honduran national in the U.S. illegally.
After pulling over and coming to a stop, the driver and three others – all men – bail out of the car and flee on foot, running into the neighborhood, a Texas Department of Public Safety video shows. Troopers pursued and apprehended all of them, DPS said.
The video shows bodycam footage from one trooper who caught one man after he ran through private property and was apprehended right in front of a resident’s front door.
The driver was charged with human smuggling; two Mexican nationals were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol, DPS said.
In another human smuggling event, TX DPS and FHP troopers in neighboring Val Verde County arrested two juveniles for smuggling of persons. Both face felony state charges. During the arrest, one of the juveniles resisted arrest and attempted to evade capture.
The driver did not have a driver’s license.
Troopers also apprehended four illegal foreign nationals who were inside the vehicle, including a 9-year-old Mexican. They were turned over to Border Patrol agents.
In another human smuggling bust in Kinney County, troopers stopped five Mexican nationals from being smuggled into the U.S.
The driver, Victor DeJesus, from Austin, led troopers on a high-speed vehicle pursuit along RM-693 in Kinney County. After troopers successfully deployed a tire deflation device, DeJesus was stopped and arrested without incident. Troopers then discovered there were five Mexicans hiding inside the vehicle.
DeJesus was charged with evading arrest and smuggling of persons. When told he was being arrested for human smuggling, he said “OK” and asked, “Can I have another cigarette?”
All five Mexican nationals were apprehended and referred to Border Patrol.
Drivers apprehended in these busts face a minimum of a 10-year sentence for smuggling of persons after the legislature passed a new bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law this year.
The troopers’ efforts are among over 488,500 apprehensions of illegal foreign nationals made in Texas by Operation Lone Star officers since Abbott launched Texas’ border security mission in April 2021. Since then, as of Dec. 8, OLS officers have made more than 37,300 criminal arrests with more than 33,800 felony charges reported.
Abbott maintains, “Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps created by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Joe Biden’s open border policies.”