News 9’s Amanda Taylor Reports: Oklahoma Guardsmen Patrol Southern Border

News 9's Amanda Taylor went to El Paso to spend the day with Oklahoma National Guardsmen as they patrol the southern border and attempt to stop illegal crossings.

Thursday, August 10th 2023, 10:18 pm

By: News 9, Amanda Taylor


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Governor Stitt sent Oklahoma National Guard troops to the southern border to help Texas, saying President Biden isn’t protecting our nation. 

“Every state is a border state. We see fentanyl and the increase in deaths,” said Gov. Stitt.

It’s called Operation Lone Star, the goal is to stop illegal crossings and drug smuggling. Texas’ governor called for reinforcement, and Governor Stitt agreed. Oklahoma is one of more than a dozen states answering the call.

“It’s an opportunity to serve in a different capacity than what we usually serve,” said Captain Jayce Crowder, one of the 50 Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen serving in Texas.

News 9’s Amanda Taylor spent the day with National Guard troops in El Paso. 

“It’s been very eye opening,” said Tech. Sgt. Logan Christensen. “I didn’t expect this to happen as often and frequently as it does, especially the mass amounts of groups I’ve seen.”

Christensen, along with the other 49 guardsmen, volunteered to go to El Paso to act as a deterrent.

“Our goal right now is to keep them on their side and keep us on ours so they can go through the port of entry like they’re supposed to do,” Christensen said.

Just this week, the Border Patrol Union says they’re up to 6,000 arrests and 1,000 known escapes.

For the last week, Oklahoma guardsmen have been manning checkpoints, rotating out every eight hours, so someone is always on watch.

“They get closer to test the fence and see if we’ll move toward them, or try to squeeze past when we’re not looking,” said Crowder.

As soon as the Guardsmen notice a threat, they call in Texas law enforcement.

“Just the other day we had 100, 200 try to rush the fence right there, so we tried our best to stop as many as we could safely,” said Christensen. “We don’t want anyone hurt, either. We’re just trying to do our job and keep our nation secure.”

According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, most of the drugs seized in Oklahoma are trafficked across the border and linked back to Mexican drug cartels. Recent data shows growth in trafficked drugs from Mexico. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics seized 18 pounds of fentanyl in 2021, in 2022 that number leapt to 128 pounds.

“We need to have reformed immigration policy. We’ve got a great Hispanic community. Love our Hispanic community. But we have to know who’s coming across our borders,” said Gov. Stitt.

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