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Latest data from Texas DPS shows an increase in pursuits compared to last year

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA)- According to data by the Texas Department of Public Safety, troopers have seen a spike in Operation Lone Star pursuits compared to last year.

Data obtained by ABC-7 shows in the month of February for 2023 pursuits involving Operation Lone Star was 29, that's an increase from 9 in February 2022.

State troopers are now engaging in two to three pursuits daily involving migrants, according to Eliot Torres, a spokesman from Texas DPS.

“It's been incredible the amount of pursuits that are based on, you know, the immigration problem,” said Torres. “Normally the majority of the pursuits that we have is not some guy that has a bunch of drugs in the car, now it's people.”

Torres tells ABC-7 they have seen a spike in migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. on the west side of town near I-10, and also on Loop 375.

Operation Lone Star just passed its two year anniversary, Governor Abbott launched the operation in March 2021 in response to what he calls a rise in illegal immigration.

It directed the Department of Public Safety to enforce federal and state laws to prevent criminal activity along the border.

Torres said he believes, in El Paso, the operation has been successful in decreasing the influx of migrants coming in, but has also come with challenges for the department.

“..Our routine duties, our routine patrol as highway patrolman is stopping cars, saving lives, finding drugs, finding loads of money and getting the bad guys,” he said. “..With this coming in, it's become a challenge because now we're taken away from that.”

He said they still have their steady State Troopers, but the focus has shifted to assisting the border.

With the lifting of Title 42 set to expire in May, Torres said he believes they will see an increase in DPS pursuits.

“I think so, especially with the summer coming up. It's in the stats,” he said. “Usually in the winter months it's a lot slower, but when it gets warmer, that's when it picks up.”

Torres reminds the community to steer clear if they see law enforcement in the middle of a pursuit.

“Slowly move over where you're supposed to move over. Stay far away. If you need to get off and exit earlier. Get off the exit. Just let us do our job safely, so that everyone around us, including the criminals, can get home safely or to where they're going to be going,” he said.

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Brianna Perez


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