State National Guard Member Charged With Smuggling People



Texas has dispatched its National Guard to the border under Operation Lone Star, an endeavor spearheaded by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in 2021. The aim was to mitigate the influx of illegal immigration into the state, which Abbott attributes to President Joe Biden’s purported failure to address the issue. Notably, a Guard member from the state has recently faced charges linked to human smuggling activities.

According to reports, Savion Amari Donovan Johnson allegedly reversed course as he approached a newly established Border Patrol checkpoint along the US-Mexico border on March 31. The checkpoint, characterized as tactical, had been operational for only a brief period. Texas State troopers proceeded to pursue the 26-year-old individual. The ensuing police pursuit spanned 15 miles and involved speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.


During the pursuit, officers asserted that Johnson halted to allow a Mexican man to exit the vehicle. Subsequently, he proceeded to drive on the opposite side of the highway. Eventually, law enforcement deployed tire spikes, puncturing the tires of the GMC SUV he was operating. Authorities filed charges against him for evading arrest, illegal possession of a weapon, and involvement in human smuggling.

The Texas Department of Public Safety verified Johnson’s affiliation with the Texas National Guard. He had been stationed in the Eagle Pass area as part of Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. The individual ejected from the soldier’s vehicle fled initially but subsequently surrendered to Border Patrol agents and underwent processing.

Johnson allegedly received assurances of up to $6,000 for facilitating the illegal entry of individuals into the United States. However, he lacked access to certain resources that could have aided him, such as license plate readers. Governor Abbott expressed strong disapproval of Johnson’s arrest, labeling him a traitor and criminal. He emphasized his administration’s unwavering stance of zero tolerance towards lawbreakers who undermine Texas’ objectives.

Sheriff Brad Coe of Kinney County remarked that he was unaware of the circumstances in the soldier’s life that led him to engage in human smuggling. He cautioned that smugglers would inevitably face consequences. Additionally, Coe disclosed that his officers had apprehended at least two other women recently and had filed charges against them for human smuggling.

Back in December, Border Patrol Officer Emanuel Celedon, aged 36, was taken into custody by authorities in Laredo, Texas, on accusations of unlawfully transporting four immigrants. Additionally, he faced charges related to drug trafficking. These charges carry the potential for decades of imprisonment. Meanwhile, Johnson was under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Public Safety.