If local residents noticed an increased law enforcement presence in the past few days, they’re not imagining things.

Two law enforcement initiatives took place, resulting in numerous arrests and seizures. Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar and Jackson County Sheriff Kelly R. Janica requested assistance from fellow members of the Operation Lone Star Task Force in combating criminal activity in their counties. Task Force Commander John Davis coordinated the operation, concentrating on human smuggling, drug smuggling, firearms, and stolen vehicles used by cartel operatives and couriers of cash derived from illegal activities.

Last week, Wharton Police hosted a Highway Interdiction Task Force (separate from the Lone Star Task Force) that focused on illegal activities that included human smuggling, narcotics and illicit funds derived from illegal activities.

Davis reported the following results of the 48-hour Operation Lone Star Task Force event:

• 356 traffic stops

• 13 felony arrests

• 1 misdemeanor arrest

• 2 fugitives arrested

• 12 illegal aliens apprehended

• 28 total arrests

• 4 drug seizures (1 gram heroin, 176 grams cocaine, 2 ounces marijuana, and 2 grams THC oil)

• 17 firearms seized that were utilized in criminal activity (2 stolen)

• $57,992 in cash seized

• 6 vehicles seized

• 1 stolen vehicle recovered

Davis reported to Srubar and Janica that investigations of the crimes led the taskforce to Houston where they executed search and arrests warrants leading to firearms, more drugs, and three felony arrests for those directly responsible for smuggling crimes in the area. Davis said the OLS Task Force was formed to be a collaborative effort to assist member agencies fighting against transnational criminal cartels and their operatives.

Goliad Sheriff Roy Boyd, who founded the taskforce, said it was a success.

“There are a lot of self-claimed experts talking in front of the media about the border crisis, but thanks to OLS grant funding, the taskforce is sending a clear message that this criminal activity will not be tolerated in our member counties,” he said.

“The task force was a huge success because of the force multipliers,” Srubar said. ”There were over a dozen agencies coming together to interdict the evil and poison that is coming from our southern border. I would like to thank the Governor’s Office for their support in grant funding to make operations like this possible. I would also like to thank the Rustic Chandelier for the use of their facility. I would like to thank those that helped feed the officers during this task force, as they do not want their names mentioned, but please know we appreciate you.”

Among the participating agencies were the sheriff’s offices of Brooks, Refugio, Goliad, Gonzales, Waller, Jackson, and Wharton counties, Kleberg County Attorney’s Office Task Force, Texas DPS, police departments from Nixon, Ganado, Yoakum, El Campo and Edna, Texas Department of Public Safety Aviation (Houston), Harris County Constable Precinct 5, U.S. Marshals Service Southern District of Texas (Houston), U.S. Border Patrol (Corpus Christi), and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Wharton Police Department

With the aid of officers throughout the state, the Wharton Police Department was able to conduct 298 traffic stops (all on Highway 59 and within city limits from Wharton Regional Airport to FM 1161).

Those stops yielded 23 pounds of cocaine (roughly 10.45 kilos), 10 pounds of methamphetamine, and 16 pounds of marijuana.

Additionally, the department seized three vehicles used to run the drugs into the country, along with $24,560 in cash that fuel the drug/ human smuggling trade.

“Wharton PD, along with additional units with our Wharton Police Task Force, became engaged in one pursuit during our operation, and after the operation concluded on Friday of last week, we’re happy to report that all of our officers and partner officers went home safely (while two bad guys/gals did not). They went to jail,” the department said in a press release.

The following agencies partnered in the effort: 100th District Attorney’s Office, and the sheriff’s offices of Carson, Fayette, Kendall, Guadalupe, and Kerr counties.

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