Florida Division of Emergency Management Issues Updates on Operation Lone Star
EAGLE PASS, TX - Today, the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced that Florida teams have made contact with nearly 150,000 undocumented migrants and assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with approximately 2,700 arrests including felony charges for human smuggling, child endangerment, family violence, burglary, money laundering, drug charges and paraphernalia, unlawful carry of a weapon, terrorist threats, escape from federal custody, and a suspect with a capital murder warrant.
These actions have been ongoing since May 2023, with more than 700 Florida National Guardsmen, 200 Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents and 8 support team members, over 100 Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Troopers, and 20 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers deployed to support these efforts.
Since May 2023, Florida officials have interacted with undocumented migrants originating from over 13 different countries, including countries of concern such as Iran, China, and Syria.
In 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis answered the call for support and reinforcements following a letter from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona, requesting immediate assistance with the security crisis overwhelming law enforcement at the southern border. Under the Emergency Management Compact (EMAC) the following state resources remain deployed in Texas supporting the mass migration crisis at the U.S. southern border:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
- Currently, Florida Department of Law Enforcement members remain deployed assisting Texas law enforcement agencies investigating criminal activity along the border associated with human trafficking and drug and weapon smuggling. Nearly 200 FDLE agents have been deployed during Operation Lone Star since March 2023.
- FDLE agents have assisted Texas DPS with arrests of violent felony suspects including gang members. Suspects were arrested on various Texas state charges including human smuggling, burglary, firearms, smuggling of persons, smuggling of persons with a firearm, child endangerment, escape from federal custody, and possession of a controlled substance.
- As part of the arrests, FDLE agents helped seize cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, firearms, and boxes of ammunition.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) – Florida Highway Patrol (FHP)
- 76 FHP troopers are currently deployed in support of Operation Lone Star.
- The Florida Highway Patrol continues its efforts in supporting Operation Lone Star, as requested by the state of Texas. The Patrol has contacted 149,014 UDA’s (Undocumented Aliens) during 6,191 encounters following entry into the United States.
- Troopers have been involved in 27,046 traffic stops, 2,011 commercial vehicle inspections, one of which was a post-crash from a double fatal.
- FHP has assisted with 462 crashes, (19 of which were fatal) 159 DUI’s, and 276 pursuits.
- These efforts have resulted in 412 narcotic related charges, along with 232 federal and/or state warrant arrest on fugitives, as well as the seizure of 68 firearms/ammunition.
- FHP has been involved with 2,102 Human Smuggling/Human Trafficking charges with 2,278 overall arrests with 2,435 felony charges, 60 stolen vehicles recovered, and 8 vehicles seized.
- FHP has deployed unmanned and traditional aircraft on 4,441 occasions while facilitating multiple missions and assisted in identifying the location of 35,195 UDA’s previously documented in the count. Largest single day encounter with UDA: December 18, 2023, with 13,109.
- While conducting stationary observation near a BP checkpoint in Cameron County, an FHP Trooper observed a Hispanic male run from the wooded area next to the Border Patrol check-in. The Trooper alerted his assigned DPS Trooper, who allowed him to pursue the subject on foot. The FHP Trooper captured the subject, who was then arrested by DPS. The subject was identified as a 63-year-old Mexican male, with an active warrant out of Houston, TX for Capital Murder.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
- Currently, there are 11 officers, 4 airboats and 11 four-wheel drive vehicles deployed to Texas.
- A total of 29 waves of FWC officers and mechanics have deployed to Texas to assist federal, state, and local agencies with response efforts, including interdictions and turnbacks. A total of 540 FWC personnel have been deployed to Texas to assist state and federal agencies, including 525 four-wheel drive patrol trucks and 24 vessels.
- FWC’s law enforcement assets assist in responding to federal, state, county, and municipal agencies with border security, information gathering, humanitarian response, search and rescue efforts, officer safety and assistance, emergency medical services, and other similar duties.
- FWC officers are conducting water- and land-based border patrol activities in conjunction with Texas law enforcement, using shallow draft vessels and airboats capable of navigating variable-depth river environments and four-wheel-drive patrol vehicles.
- In conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety and other state and federal partners, FWC officers have made contact with approximately 69,707 people entering the United States illegally. Apprehended illegal immigrants were turned over to the United States Border Patrol.
- FWC officers have worked with Texas DPS and local law enforcement with the arrest of 228 individuals for various charges.