UVALDE, Texas – To combat the smuggling of people and drugs into the state, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety launched Operation Lone Star in March. Since then, DPS has deployed around 1,000 troopers to assist the border and surrounding communities.
“They have been a godsend for our community,” said Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde.
McLaughlin said DPS troopers arrived at Uvalde around the end of May.
“The DPS has been very aggressive in stepping up and filling the void where Border Patrol is tied up in other places,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said local law enforcement is stretched thin.
“The police and sheriff’s department probably spend 60%, 70% of their time pursuing immigrants, where now with DPS, we’re able to take care of some of our other duties that we need to be taking care of in the county and the city,” McLaughlin said.
Troopers have also shown a strong presence on streets in other cities near the border, including Cotulla.
DPS denied KSAT’s request for an interview but released the following statement on the matter:
“The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is committed to securing our border under the direction of Governor Greg Abbott. Since Operation Lone Star began in March, DPS has deployed around one-thousand Troopers to assist at the border. While the department does not discuss operational specifics, we continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds in order to make real-time decisions and will adjust operations as necessary. DPS Troopers continue to enforce all state violations of law including, but not limited to, criminal trespassing, criminal mischief, smuggling and human trafficking. So far, during Operation Lone Star, DPS has made more than 3,650 criminal arrests and more than 56,200 migrant apprehensions and referrals. There have been 577 vehicle pursuits, and DPS has seized more than 4,960 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine, 995 firearms and more than $8.2 million dollars in the areas of the Rio Grande Valley, Del Rio, Big Bend and El Paso. These are numbers through July 29.”