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Two illegal migrants who a now-missing Texas National Guard soldier tried to save from a river were involved in “illicit transnational narcotics trafficking,” officials said Saturday as the search for the missing service member resumed.
The soldier went missing on Friday after entering a river in Eagle Pass to help two migrants who officials say “appeared to be drowning as they illegally crossed the river from Mexico to the United States.”
TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIER MISSING AFTER MISSION TO RESCUE MIGRANT FROM RIVER: SOURCES
In a statement, the Texas Military Dept. said that initial reports from Texas Rangers “have determined that the two migrants were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.” They are both in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.
The search continued until late Friday, with sources telling Fox News that the incident being treated as a drowning, with dive teams searching the water since the service member was not seen resurfacing from the river. The strength of the river’s current forced the Search and Rescue Teams to cease dive operations late Friday, but the search resumed on Saturday.
In the statement, the Texas Military Dept. said it was able to notify the family of the missing soldier on Friday evening and that additional information, including the soldier’s name, will be released at a later date.
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“The search for the missing TMD soldier will continue until we have exhausted all available resources,” the statement said. “The Texas Military Department is thankful to all interagency partners for their continued support in this operation to locate our missing soldier. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of the soldier.”
On Friday, Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, tweeted out an image of the guardsman’s armor, which reportedly he removed before jumping into the water.
“Please pray for the families of all those impacted,” Gonzales tweeted.
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The National Guard soldier was assigned to Operation Lone Star, Texas’ operation to surge resources to combat the crisis at the southern border.