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Texas DPS Troopers Shut Down Human Trafficking Operations In 2 Separate Traffic Stops Last Weekend

Two human smuggling operations involving more than two dozen migrants entering the country illegally were foiled by the Texas Department of Public Safety last weekend during traffic stops as part of Operation Lone Star, the agency announced on Saturday.

Operation Lone Star was launched as a border security initiative in response to an increase in illegal border crossings through Texas and President Biden’s immigration policies.

In the first incident, a pickup truck led a DPS soldier in a high-speed chase following an attempt to stop traffic in Val Verde County for speeding on US-277 last Sunday .

The driver then slammed into a ranch fence and continued down a dirt road before exiting the truck and hiding in brush. The driver and 13 migrants entering the country illegally were arrested with the help of a US Border Patrol K-9.

The passengers were identified as Mexican nationals in the country illegally. The driver, identified as Eduardo Rodriguez Velasquez, was trying to smuggle a total of 13 migrants into the country, the DPS said.


A suspected smuggler led soldiers on a chase last Sunday.
(Texas DPS)

Velasquez was charged with human trafficking, likelihood of serious bodily harm or death, evasion of arrest, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

The migrants were handed over to the US Border Patrol.

In a separate incident on Sunday, DPS soldiers found 14 migrants inside a transit van that a soldier stopped along US-90. The driver first claimed to have seen the passengers jump out of a vehicle in front of him, so he drove them to a border patrol post or a DPS office.

After his story was deemed “incoherent”, arriving soldiers and Border Patrol agents found 14 migrants inside the van, including two children.

The driver, identified as Joshua Hernandez, was arrested for human trafficking and possession of marijuana.

In Kinney County on Sunday, soldiers found 14 migrants entering the country illegally inside a suspected smuggler's van.

In Kinney County on Sunday, soldiers found 14 migrants entering the country illegally inside a suspected smuggler’s van.
(Texan DPS)

“Through Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, as of November 17, 2022, the Texas Department of Public Safety has made over 22,000 felony arrests, over 5,600 criminal trespassing arrests, and met with over 328,000 illegal immigrants,” the DPS said in a statement. “DPS has seen an increase in human trafficking, including the trafficking of minors. As criminal trafficking organizations continue to expand their criminal network by recruiting drivers throughout the state of Texas and outside of the state for human trafficking. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry in which illegal immigrants are forced into indentured servitude.”


Operation Lone Star was launched in March 2021.


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