A soldier from the Texas Army National Guard remains missing a day after he tried to help two illegal immigrants who appeared to be drowning in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas. The two immigrants are now alleged by the Texas Rangers to be involved in narcotics trafficking.
“The service member selflessly attempted to help two migrants who appeared to be drowning as they illegally crossed the river from Mexico to the United States,” the Texas Military Department said in an update on Saturday.
“Initial reports from the Texas Rangers have determined that the two migrants were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking. They remain in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol,” the department said.
The family of the missing soldier were notified about his disappearance on Friday evening, the Texas Military Department stated.
“Additional information, including the name of the Soldier, will be officially released at a later date. The search for the missing TMD soldier will continue until we have exhausted all available resources. … Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of the soldier,” it said.
The department is continuing to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Border Patrol, and the Texas Rangers to investigate his disappearance. The Texas Rangers is leading the search, which began when he went missing on Friday.
The soldier was assigned to Operation Lone Star, a mission launched in March 2021 by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. It aims to combat the smuggling of humans and contraband into Texas across the southern border. Abbott later expanded the operation to also deal with human trafficking.