Texas Dept. of Public Safety officer killed while providing security during Border Patrol arrest

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A “tragic accident” took the life of a Texas Department of Public Safety officer over the weekend near the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

DPS Special Agent Anthony Salas was “conducting tactical operations in Maverick County as part of a DPS Special Operations Group working jointly with the US Border Patrol BORTAC” when the incident occurred near Eagle Pass on Friday evening, according to a statement from Texas DPS in Austin.

Salas was reportedly crushed by a vehicle that flipped down an embankment while he was providing security during an arrest being conducted by Border Patrol near the Rio Grande.

According to WOAI News 4 San Antonio, Salas was in the back of a Border Patrol pickup truck providing security for the driver and for six migrants who were under arrest, when something caused the truck to flip and roll down the embankment. Salas was crushed in the incident.

The 37-year-old officer was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries, according to the DPS press release.

“Local EMS personnel transported him to Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and later he was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio. Special Agent Salas passed away just after 11 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2022, with his family by his side,” the DPS statement added.

On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott spoke about the weekend event that had occurred on behalf of Operation Lone Star, which tasks its agents with arresting immigrants on misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges as a means of providing some of the border protection that the federal government refuses to do.

“Overnight a Texas DPS Special Agent was involved in apprehending some people who were not here just illegally, but were transporting drugs into the U.S. And the DPS agent lost his life,” Abbott said in San Antonio.

“This is not the first time last night that they were cracking down on drug smugglers,” said Gov. Abbott. “They were doing this every single day because of the record amounts of fentanyl entering this country,” he added.

“Texans know that our law enforcement officers deal with ever-present danger, every single day, to keep Texas communities safe. This is a somber reminder of that fact,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement. “President Biden’s open border policy and refusal to even admit there is a crisis on the border puts law enforcement lives at risk every day.”

Salas had been with the department since 2013, and he was one of 1,600 state troopers deployed to the border as part of Operation Lone Star since March of 2021. He had proudly served in the United States Marine Corps prior to joining the Texas Department of Public Safety; after serving initially as a Trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol, he was promoted to Special Agent in the state’s Criminal Investigation Division. He also served as a member of the DPS West Texas Special Response Team.

WOAI reached out to Border Patrol for more information on the migrants who had been arrested; they received this statement in reply: “Texas Department of Public Safety and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was notified.”

Donations for the family were being raised by the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association.

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