Del Rio, TX – The Iowa State Patrol (ISP) troopers deployed to the Del Rio area of Texas to assist law enforcement agencies overwhelmed by the tidal wave of illegal immigrants flooding into the U.S. were instrumental in disrupting human trafficking, drug smuggling, and firearm trafficking in the area, state officials said.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds deployed 27 officers and one agent to the Del Rio area on July 8, The Gazette reported.
The team returned on July 22, having helped carry out 240 arrests, 51 vehicle pursuits, and 18 firearms seizures as part of “Operation Loan Star.”
They also seized 37 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine, nearly 1,000 pounds of marijuana, and $1.7 million in illegally-obtained cash, The Gazette reported.
The team assisted with tactical operations, humanitarian efforts, human smuggling investigations, and traffic duties during the 12-day stay.
“They did Iowa proud,” Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Bayens said, according to the Des Moines Register. “They brought Iowa values to Texas. They worked hard when hard work was required. They showed compassion when compassion was needed, and I’m proud of them. And I know the people of Texas appreciated it.”
Reynolds announced on June 24 that she would be deploying ISP officers to Texas to help local law enforcement officers with border security efforts at the request of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Six other states have agreed to do the same, The Gazette reported.
The joint effort falls under an Emergency Management Assistance Compact that permits states to help one another in instances of emergency or disaster, according to the Des Moines Register.
Iowa joined the compact in the 1990s, KCCI reported.
Reynolds said the $300,000 price tag associated with the deployment was necessary for the betterment of the nation, especially considering President Joe Biden has failed to do anything to secure the southern border, The Gazette reported.
“Because they’re not, we’re stepping up,” she declared, adding that the taxpayer-funded effort was “an investment that I believe was well spent. I think it was the right thing to do.”
“I made this decision because the federal government has abdicated its duty,” the governor said, according to the Des Moines Register. “Texas law enforcement and border agents are being overwhelmed and the crisis at the border isn’t staying at the border. It’s being felt across the country, including right here in Iowa.”
The governor said she may send a team back down to the southern border yet again, The Gazette reported.
A group of approximately 30 Iowa National Guard soldiers are also stationed in Texas assisting with drone surveillance, according to the Des Moines Register.
Iowa Democratic Party’s Latinx Caucus Vice Chair Patricia Ritchie and Chair Araceli Goode released a joint statement accusing Reynolds and “Iowa Republicans” of using the deployment as a political stunt, The Gazette reported.
“Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Republicans continue to use fear to divide us from each other when they know, just like we do, that people who were born here are far more likely to commit crimes than people who are immigrants,” Ritchie and Goode declared. “This rhetoric is hurtful, dangerous and normalizes hateful actions against Iowa’s Latinx community.”