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Texas National Guard member charged with human smuggling

(NewsNation) — A Texas National Guard soldier, deployed to Eagle Pass as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, was arrested Sunday for allegedly attempting to smuggle a migrant over the U.S.-Mexico border.

Texas’ Department of Public Safety confirmed in a statement to NewsNation that Savion Johnson, 26, is charged with evading arrest, smuggling of persons and unlawful carry of a weapon.

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe said the soldier turned around when he approached a pop-up tactical Border Patrol checkpoint off Highway 674 that had only been operational for a few days.

That behavior alerted agents, who attempted to stop the SUV. Officers from Texas DPS used spike strips to get the vehicle to come to a stop.

Kinney County Sheriff’s deputies arrived to assist with that arrest, and at that point, the soldier was pulled out of the vehicle so they could search him.

The undocumented person authorities say the soldier was trying to transport fled from the SUV when caught by police, but he eventually gave himself up to be processed by Border Patrol.

Sources say Johnson, who was promised $5,000 to $6,000, did not have access to license plate readers or other technology that could have aided him in his efforts. However, he was armed, authorities say, so the smuggling charge was elevated.

“We don’t know what’s going on in their lives to make them do this,” Coe said. “But they’re going to get caught.”

Two other women were previously caught in Kinney County along the same road, also for human smuggling.

“If the allegations are true, the accused is a traitor and criminal,” Abbott said in a statement to NewsNation Monday. “We have zero tolerance for Texans who violate laws that directly contradict the mission we are seeking to achieve.”

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