(NewsNation) — Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are now working in the Rio Grande valley alongside the Texas National Guard and U.S. Border Patrol in a first-of-its-kind specialized joint operation.
It’s happening in conjunction with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lonestar.
Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez says the initiative aims to stop human smugglers and prevent high-speed chases.
“They’re seeing all these different challenges trying to apprehend gotaways, trying to focus on and apprehend families that are coming across, human smuggling and now also dealing with drone incursions that we’re seeing,” Olivarez said.
Olivarez said the pilot program started because Border Patrol is stretched extremely thinly, with only two agents to cover several miles of border. All the while, the number of undocumented people attempting to evade law enforcement continues to climb.
Department of Homeland Security sources confirm a record 73,000 people successfully evaded law enforcement along the border last month.
“We’ve made an impact in just the small area we have been working,” Olivarez said.
More than 50 migrants have been apprehended under the joint operation, which started Monday.
“We are able to make these apprehensions where otherwise there wouldn’t be manpower there, (and) these (migrants) would be gotaways,” Olivarez said.
The operation has so far been deemed a success. Law enforcement plans to continue to deploy specialized teams and task forces in strategic areas to address threats against public safety and provide support to federal partners.
Olivarez said the team will likely be back out in the brush next month.