A search continued Saturday for an Army National Guard soldier who went missing after jumping into the Rio Grande in Texas to save two migrants the day before, officials said.
The name of the soldier, assigned to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star initiative that he said was aimed at illegal border crossings and drugs, has not been released.
The soldier went into the water to try and save two migrants from Mexico who appeared to be drowning near Eagle Pass, a city on the border, the Texas Military Department said in a statement.
The search “will continue until we have exhausted all available resources,” the department said.
The two migrants are in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, it said.
The military department statement also said that “initial reports from the Texas Rangers have determined that the two migrants were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.”
A request for more details from the Texas Department of Public Safety was not immediately returned Saturday.
Abbott announced the launch of Operation Lone Star in March 2021, an initiative that uses Texas National Guard troops as well as state law enforcement officers at the Texas border.
It has been criticized by attorneys and others as unconstitutional and illegal. In September, more than 200 people were ordered released after being detained for weeks without charges.
Abbott, a Republican running for re-election in November, has said that it is necessary to secure the border because of what he said was federal inaction.