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The Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune
James Barragán, The Texas Tribune, and Davis Winkie, Military Times

National Guard member deployed for Operation Lone Star stabbed while off duty in Mexico

Members of the Texas National Guard set up a shade structure while they guard a gate along the border wall in Del Rio on September 16, 2021.
Members of the Texas National Guard set up a shade structure while guarding a gate along the border wall in Del Rio on Sept. 16, 2021. (Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune)

This article is co-published and co-reported with Military Times, an independent news organization reporting on issues important to the U.S. military. Sign up for its daily Early Bird Brief newsletter here.

A service member deployed on Gov. Greg Abbott’s border mission was stabbed this weekend in Mexico while off duty. He is expected to recover.

The incident happened early Sunday in Ciudad Acuña, where he and another service member on the mission attended a concert, according to a source familiar with the incident.

The injured soldier was transported back to the U.S. in a personal vehicle and taken to a hospital in San Antonio for treatment, the source said.

Texas Military Department public affairs staff did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment regarding the stabbing.

Troops deployed on Operation Lone Star are banned from crossing into Mexico unless that travel is approved, according to a policy letter obtained by The Texas Tribune and Army Times. Mission leaders describe Mexico as a “High Threat Area” in the memorandum, which specifies that violators could face punishment.

The service members had not been cleared to cross into Ciudad Acuña, which is across the border from Del Rio, a South Texas city that has seen large increases in migrant crossings over the last two years. It is a major area of focus for the border mission and is where an estimated 12,000 Haitian migrants were camped out underneath a bridge waiting to cross into the country in September 2021.

It is unclear if the service member will face disciplinary action. Members of the Texas Guard on state duty can face serious consequences for flouting policies — ranging from negative performance evaluations to criminal charges under the Texas Code of Military Justice.

After the incident, OLS commanders cited the stabbing in a newsletter circulated throughout the border task force and exhorted leaders to tighten discipline and “know where your people are.” The Tribune and Army Times obtained a copy of the newsletter, which also reminded soldiers that “if [they] see another [soldier] performing unsafe acts, tell them to STOP!”

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