Fox News crew witnesses dramatic human smuggling busts by Texas authorities

Texas law enforcement have made multiple human smuggling busts near the southern border, as they deal with a historic migrant crisis that has seen enormous numbers of illegal immigrants getting past Border Patrol agents – and just as a new surge may be coming.

Fox News has been embedded with a Texas Department of Public Safety elite strike force, which sees troopers — some armed with drones and K9s — attempting to apprehend illegal immigrants who evade Border Patrol and get into the U.S. interior

Fox witnessed back-to-back human smuggling busts in La Joya, Texas. In one chase, troopers chased down a vehicle, out of which a smuggler and a number of illegal immigrants bailed into a residential neighborhood.

Troopers chased and tackled them, then returned to the vehicle where they found even more illegal immigrants in the trunk — some of them wearing wristbands given to them by the cartels in order to track who they are smuggling.


Texas DPS troopers apprehend illegal immigrants attempting to flee.

There have been more than 73,000 “gotaways” in November alone, meaning there are already over 137,000 for this fiscal year. In FY2022 there were nearly 600,000 gotaways. There were 389,155 gotaways at the border in FY2021.

That number is amid a broader migrant crisis that has seen more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in FY 2021 and more than 2.3 million in FY 2022. FY 2023 has so far been on track to exceed that.

There are fears those numbers could grow with the looming end of the Title 42 public health order on Dec. 21. That order has been used to expel a majority of migrants at the border since March 2020 but was recently found to be unlawful by a federal judge.

And with Border Patrol agents overwhelmed with processing the migrants who are turning themselves in and claiming asylum, it has opened greater ground for smugglers to sneak in other, mainly single adult, illegal immigrants into the U.S.


In another chase in La Joya, law enforcement nabbed a Mexican smuggler who said he was paid $100 per person to smuggle illegal immigrants into the U.S.  Minutes later another pursuit in the same residential area where all those arrested were from Mexico and ran into a neighborhood before being picked up. One of those men had a black bag full of ammunition.

Separately, in Laredo, Texas DPS came across an 18-wheeler with a gravel truck. Inside that vehicle were 15 illegal immigrants who had been smuggled in, including a small child. The driver was a U.S. citizen from San Antonio and charged with smuggling.

The new unit is composed of troopers, drone operators and tracking K9s. The Texas Department of Public Safety told Fox that its purpose is to augment resources for U.S. Border Patrol “in detecting, tracking and apprehending illegal immigrants who evade and avoid capture from law enforcement.” It also gathers intelligence, disrupts human smuggling and identifies scouts.

“This is in part due to the unprecedented number of gotaways,” spokesperson Lt. Christopher Olivarez told Fox. “We will continue to deploy specialized teams and task forces in strategic areas to address threats against public safety and provide support to our federal partners.”

Earlier this week, Fox News saw the new unit make 50 apprehensions — all single adults attempting to run past agents. They were from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Among there was a scout armed with an AK-47.

Fox also caught on video cartel scouts across the river from Mexico. Scouts used radios and even drones as they looked to track and monitor law enforcement to work out when and where they can push illegal immigrants across into the areas of La Joya and Mission. 

Texas has declared an invasion at the border, while building its own wall and surging resources and law enforcement to the border as part of Operation Lone Star.


Border communities have been bracing for the end of Title 42 later this month, with bipartisan concerns about a new surge in migrants at a time when the border is typically quiet.

The Biden administration says it has a plan in place that includes surging resources to the border, a greater use of expedited removal and other authorities, and broader efforts to crack down on human smuggling operations.

It has also appealed the court order demanding Title 42 be wound down, but that appeal will not be decided on ahead of the court-mandated expiration on Dec. 21.