State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) recently interviewed Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd to get a firsthand perspective on the effects of the ongoing border crisis—fear, destruction, and outrageous criminal activity.

As the Biden administration’s open-border policies create chaos on the southwest border, Texas’ state government has stepped into the gap with Operation Lone Star, a state-funded border security program meant to prevent criminal activity along the border.

Goliad County has been a recipient of OLS funding grants as cartels, gangs, and smugglers trek through the county on their way to Houston.

Background

Boyd assumed office in 2021, right as President Joe Biden unleashed a flood of illegal aliens through his jumbled revocation of the previous administration’s policies.

“The dynamic has drastically changed in our rural communities,” explained Boyd. “We’ve gone from minor crimes and disturbances, and DWIs, to fighting organized crime. That’s transnational criminal activity, and it is extremely complex and the investigations take a lot of effort.”

Goliad County is located roughly halfway between Laredo and Houston. With a population of less than 8,000 and 859 square miles to cover, it’s become a hot zone of cartel activity as smugglers transport drugs and people to Houston on Highway 59.

“It is a crisis for our way of life,” said Boyd. “We’re trying to maintain a peaceful way of life for people who have chosen to live in rural Texas. People don’t live in Goliad for hustle and bustle; we have two traffic lights in the entire county.”

However, “all the issues that happen at the border have a direct impact on Goliad County.”

It started with trespassing.

“We started seeing stash sites with trash on them. We could tell that the cartel was bringing people into our jurisdiction and using places without permission of the landowners and setting up these stash sites,” said Boyd.

Stash sites are smugglers’ holding spots for illegal aliens. The Goliad County Sheriff’s Office uncovered 16 stash sites.

“From those initial contacts in those initial stash sites, we began developing cases on Gulf cartel members,” explained Boyd. But “it didn’t take too long for all of this to overwhelm us.”

Once Goliad County received OLS funding, they hired three additional deputies and formed a 20-agency task force to “chase down and to push those cartels and their operatives out of our jurisdictions.”

Improvement

“It’s been very successful thus far,” said Boyd. “I will tell you that we identified four major organizations that were coming through Goliad County as a result of our investigations. And taking down many of those individuals, most of those organizations have now pushed to the west and are going through San Antonio.”

But Boyd cautions that the cartel problems aren’t over yet.

The cartel is constantly coming in and probing us to see whether we’re active in certain areas of the county.

Boyd explained that cartel members have recently been cutting the locks on private properties and replacing them with their own to see if anyone notices. If they don’t, the cartel begins using the property as a stash site.

Goliad County has gone from prosecuting petty crime and DWIs to having their top four arrest categories be drugs, organized criminal activity, human smuggling, and evading arrest.

“A lot of the folks in our county have been scared to go out and utilize their own property, especially a lot of the women who live alone,” said Boyd. “That should not be taking place in Goliad County, but unfortunately we find ourselves in a situation where it has become the modern truth and it’s all directly tied back to the border.”

Shortcomings

“I think beyond the crime, it’s the humanitarian side,” said Boyd. “And what’s really going on is not immigration but slave trade.”

It takes you 8-13 years to purchase your freedom once you’re … brought into the country.

With the current border policies, Boyd says, “we are bringing people in knowing they’re going to be slaves in our own country.”

Boyd recounted a stop by a deputy that discovered three girls who thought they were going to be reunited with their families but were actually being taken to Chinatown in Houston to be sold into the sex trade.

Additionally, “the federal government is violating the constitutional rights of every person who can’t freely exercise their rights and utilize the property that they own,” according to Boyd.

“We have to do something at our level,” he said. “I can only mitigate the problem. I can’t solve it. That’s for a pay grade well above mine, but I’m doing everything I can, and a lot of other good people are doing everything they can, as well.”

What Can Texas Do

“One of the main shortcomings of Operation Lone Star lies in the fact that expulsions are still being funneled through the federal immigration system controlled by the open borders radicals in the Biden administration,” Chris Russo, president of Texans for Strong Borders told Texas Scorecard.

Unless and until Governor Abbott uses his authority over Article I, Section 10 to directly repel the invasion at our southern border without relying on federal deportations, the gallant efforts of those like Sheriff Boyd will never be enough to stem the tide. Human trafficking by the cartels will continue. Texans will continue to live in fear on their own property. This can and must be stopped.

Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia and senior fellow at the Center for Renewing America, is also recommending Gov. Greg Abbott invoke his constitutional authority to declare an invasion and begin repelling and returning illegal border-crossers to Mexico, with the support of the Texas Legislature.

Cuccinelli says Abbott’s actions will provoke a strong response from the Biden administration and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should be ready to fend off their interference through the courts.

Call to Action

“I have four children. I’m a seventh-generation Texan. And I don’t want my kids to have to go somewhere else to find a free and conservative state,” said Boyd. “We have to maintain this, and we have to maintain our state’s rights and its proper place with regard to the federal government. We have to stand up for our freedoms. We have to draw a line in the sand, and we’ve got to do something, because if not, then we’re all going to find ourselves living in servitude to a much more powerful government.”

So far, 40 Texas counties have declared an invasion on the Texas-Mexico border and urged Abbott to take further action in repelling the ongoing invasion: Kinney, Goliad, Terrell, Parker, Wise, Edwards, Atascosa, Presidio, Tyler, Live Oak, Rockwall, Johnson, Wilson, Hardin, Chambers, Ellis, Orange, Liberty, Throckmorton, Madison, Jasper, Van Zandt, Wichita, Clay, Jack, Hunt, Montague, Hood, Wharton, Burnet, Collin, McMullen, Hamilton, Lavaca, Ector, Leon, Navarro, Waller, Fannin, and Shackelford.

Citizens may contact their elected officials to ask what legislative changes they will make in the upcoming session—beginning January 10—to solve the border invasion.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard. A 2021 graduate of Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government, Sydnie is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.

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