Texas National Guard soldiers opened fire at a migrant smuggler who they were apprehending and who drove straight at them — causing them to act to defend themselves, multiple law enforcement sources told Fox News.
The two soldiers fired their weapons at the smuggler at 1 a.m. on Tuesday in the border town of Laredo, Texas. Sources told Fox News that they approached a vehicle they suspected was being used for human smuggling.
As they did so, the driver accelerated towards them, and so they discharged their weapons to defend themselves. The driver then sped off before he was later apprehended by Border Patrol. In the car were six illegal immigrants. There were no injuries.
The driver is a 17-year-old U.S. citizen and is now charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and human smuggling. Multiple officials told Fox it is incredibly rare for the Texas National Guard to fire their weapons, and it has been years since the last time this happened.
Border agents have been struggling to cope with an influx of migrants since early 2021, which has been accompanied by an increase in smuggling and other criminal activity. There were more than 170,000 migrant apprehensions at the border in November — the latest month of data available.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star last year to combat the wave of illegal immigration and drugs coming through the border. The operation integrates law enforcement and deploys them to high-threat areas to combat smugglers moving drugs and people into the state.
Separately on Tuesday, a 7-year-old Venezuelan girl drowned in the Rio Grande in Del Rio while she was trying to cross with her mother. Authorities said her mother lost her grip, and she was swept away. Her body was recovered by the Mexicans on the other side of the river.
The Biden administration has urged people not to make the dangerous journey north, with Vice President Kamala Harris bluntly telling migrants in the Northern Triangle in June last year: “Do not come.” However, apprehensions at the border kept rising throughout the summer, with more than 200,000 apprehended in July and August. That number has reduced slightly since then to the 173,000 seen in November — but even that was more than 100,000 apprehensions higher than November 2020.