State National Guard Member Charged With Smuggling People

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( – Texas deployed its National Guard to the border as part of Operation Lone Star. The initiative launched by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in 2021 was intended to help stem the flow of illegal immigration into the state, something he claims President Joe Biden has failed to do. Recently, a member of the state’s Guard was charged with crimes related to human smuggling.

Police Chase

On March 31, Savion Amari Donovan Johnson reportedly turned around as he neared a Border Patrol checkpoint along the US-Mexico border. The checkpoint was tactical and had only been in operation for a few days. Texas State troopers pursued the 26-year-old. The police chase, which lasted 15 miles, reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

At one point during the chase, officers claimed Johnson stopped to let a Mexican man out of the vehicle. He then drove on the wrong side of the highway. Law enforcement eventually deployed spikes and punctured the tires of the GMC SUV he was driving.

Officers charged him with evading arrest, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and human smuggling.

Human Smuggling?

The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Johnson was a member of the Texas National Guard. He was deployed to the Eagle Pass region as part of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. The man the soldier kicked out of his car ran away. However, he later turned himself in to Border Patrol and was processed.

A report by NewsNation claimed that Johnson was promised up to $6,000 to smuggle people into America. However, he didn’t have access to some of the tools that would have helped him’ like license plate readers.

Governor Abbott expressed disgust over the arrest and called Johnson a “traitor and criminal.” He said his administration has “zero tolerance” for anyone who violates the law and contradicts “the mission [Texas is] seeking to achieve.”

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe said he didn’t know what was happening in the soldier’s life to make him smuggle people. He warned smugglers would “get caught.” At least two other women were recently captured by Coe’s officers and charged with human smuggling.

In December, Border Patrol Officer Emanuel Celedon, 36, was arrested by authorities in Loredo, Texas, and charged with illegally smuggling four immigrants. He was also charged with drug trafficking offenses. He’s facing decades in prison for the charges.

As for Johnson, he was in the custody of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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