Iowa Soldiers, Troopers Describe Mission To U-S Border

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds at podium.

(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa National Guard soldiers and employees of the Iowa Department of Public Safety are sharing details of their 30 day mission to the U.S. southern border. The 109 soldiers and 31 DPS employees joined their counterparts from Texas and other states at the border for 30 days as part of Operation Lone star, at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Iowa National Guard Captain Thanh Truong says during the mission "we also spotted many individuals conducting suspicious activities carrying packages crossing the border regularly, there'd be a large influx of migrants crossing the border and on occasion we'd see immigrants from various countries including China and Iran."

He says the Iowa soldiers assisted with nearly 3,000 apprehensions and surrenders of migrants and two arrests.

Iowa State Patrol Captain Mark Miller says DPS employees helped the Texas Highway Patrol during the 30-day assignment.

Miller says they helped confiscated a large number of illegal drugs, weapons and cash. He says they also assisted in hundreds of cases of human smuggling, high speed chases and other crimes. He notes during their time at the border, then experienced encounters with 121,000 people coming over the U.S. southern border.

DCI Special Agent Chad Page says while at the border, his crew would deal with "bailouts" -criminals usually driving stolen vehicles to move migrants. He say smugglers would often use the vehicles as a battering ram, causing damage to private property and usually totaling the vehicle. Page says there were several incidents that involved medical emergencies. He says the driver would run and had little to no regard for the migrants they had been smuggling. He says agents would then try to round up migrants who were left behind. He says the the smugglers showed a blatant disregard for migrants as well as citizens of Texas and law enforcement.

The Iowa National Guard deployed from Aug. 2 through Sept. 1, 2023, and the DPS deployed from Sept. 1 through Oct. 2, 2023.  


DPS deployed 20 state troopers, 2 trooper pilots, and 9 special agents from the Division of Criminal Investigation and Division of Narcotics Enforcement. Officers were directly involved in 40 human smuggling cases, 11 drug trafficking cases, 14 narcotics arrests, 6 weapons arrests, 42 vehicle pursuits, 35 vehicle bail outs, 11 stolen vehicle recoveries, and 491 illegal migrants were turned over to Customs and Border Patrol. 

Major General Stephen Osborn, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard says Iowa’s soldiers worked alongside the Texas National Guard and federal law enforcement partners to detect and apprehend trans-national criminals and deter illegal migration. “Our soldiers performed static and non-static missions along the border including observation points, prevent/deter/interdict missions, and coordinated searches for illegal migrants hiding and avoiding apprehension,” he said. “As a result, 1,700 illegal migrants were apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol and another 1,241 surrendered.” 


Captain Thang Truong from the 1-113th Calvery Squadron, 2nd Brigade of the Iowa National Guard who was commander of the mission commented that the influx of migrants attempting to cross the border came from various countries including China and Iran. “I’ve personally been deployed overseas three times, but this is a mission I can directly see how we, as the Guard, are making an impact,” he said. “We are proud that we could help stem the flow of migrants across the border to protect Iowans.” 

Photo: Iowa DPS

Photo: Iowa DPS

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