(The Center Square) – As is the case in many cities and small towns throughout Texas, families are increasingly losing loved ones to fentanyl poisonings and car accidents that law enforcement officials directly link to the border crisis.
In the oil and natural gas capital of far west Texas, a 10-year-old Midland boy was killed by a Mexican man after he illegally entered the country after having been deported five times.
About 4:35 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, the Midland Police Department responded to a hit and run accident and detained a driver after he struck a juvenile with a truck leaving the juvenile in critical condition, the Midland Police said. The juvenile was attempting to cross the street after leaving school. The MPD later announced the victim of the hit and run was a 10-year-old boy. He was air-lifted to Lubbock and later died from his injuries.
The alleged perpetrator, Rogelio Ortiz-Olivas, who goes by Juan Ortiz Perez according to his U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, first illegally entered the country and went back to Mexico through a Customs and Border Protection voluntary removal policy. He then illegally entered the country five more times after being deported each time. After illegally entering a seventh known time, he made his way to Midland, just a few hours from the Mexico border.
The Midland County Sheriff’s Office released information about his ICE detainer. The sheriff’s office has been involved with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security mission after Midland County declared a disaster declaration citing the border crisis. The governor held a roundtable in Midland in November 2021 expressing his commitment to law enforcement efforts statewide. Since then, OLS grant money has helped augment law enforcement efforts statewide.
Midland County is one of 59 counties that have issued disaster declarations citing the border crisis. Judges and commissioners of 52 counties have declared an invasion, including Crockett County in west Texas after the judge’s family members were killed in a head-on collision by an alleged human smuggler. The smuggler was driving over 100 mph trying to evade law enforcement driving north from the border.
Ortiz-Olivas is being held in Midland County Jail. He was first charged with serious bodily injury, but the charge was amended to accident causing death.
In response to the news, IDEA Travis and Midland ISD issued a joint statement, saying, “IDEA and Midland Independent School District are mourning the loss of one of our IDEA Travis students after a tragic incident near our school yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family and loved ones. Counselors will be providing mental health support for students and staff on campus. As the safety of our students continues to be our number one priority, we are urging drivers to exercise caution when pedestrians are present to prevent tragedies.”
The news comes after three teenagers were shot in southwest Houston as they were driving home on a Friday night after going bowling. They were shot by a twice deported Salvadoran man with a criminal record who illegally entered the U.S. “on an unknown date and at an unknown location without inspection or parole by U.S. immigration officials,” according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. One of the teenagers, who was shot in the head, didn’t survive.
Ortiz-Olivas is similar to millions of others who’ve illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry, intentionally seeking to evade capture, known as gotaways. Many are believed to have criminal histories; the majority are believed to be single, military age men, authorities have told The Center Square. An estimated now more than two million gotaways have illegally entered the U.S. since January 2021, according to data obtained from a Border Patrol agent and FOIA records from CBP. Law enforcement officers have no idea how many gotaways are in the U.S., who or where they are.
Several retired FBI counterintelligence officials have warned about the dangers they pose, including the likelihood they will commit violent crimes or terrorist acts.
At a recent press event in Eagle Pass, Texas, Abbott met with 13 Republican governors to express their ongoing efforts to secure the border. He said, President Joe Biden’s “open border policies” were having “a devastating impact on every community in our nation.”
“We’ve seen the catastrophic consequences of Joe Biden’s open border policies. We see the dangers every single day,” Abbott said, adding that Americans “do not know that imminent dangers that we may be facing.”
Since Abbott launched OLS in March 2021, law enforcement officers have apprehended more than 498,300 illegal foreign nationals and more than 39,200 criminal arrests, with more than 35,400 felony charges reported, according to the latest data from the governor’s office.
They’ve also seized over 458 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than everyone in the U.S. and Canada.