The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced on Saturday with "great sadness" Anthony Salas, a DPS special agent, had died from his injuries as the result of a vehicle accident near Eagle Pass, Texas while conducting a mission for Operation Lone Star.
Eagle Pass and the surrounding area are a hotspot for illegal crossings amid the ongoing border crisis. The city has recently been seeing groups, up to 500 people, illegally cross the Rio Grande at one time and hand themselves over to Border Patrol, though runners are a consistent problem:
"On Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, around 7:30 p.m., Special Agent Salas was conducting tactical operations in Maverick County as part of a DPS Special Operations Group working jointly with the US Border Patrol BORTAC when he was involved in a tragic accident near Eagle Pass. Local EMS personnel transported him to Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and later he was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio. Special Agent Salas passed away just after 11 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2022, with his family by his side.
"Special Agent Anthony Salas, 37, joined the department in 2013 and was stationed in El Paso. He served as a Trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol before promoting to a Special Agent in the department’s Criminal Investigations Division. Special Agent Salas was a member of the DPS West Texas Special Response Team, and he served in the United States Marine Corps before joining the department."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement the vehicle was being driven by a Border Patrol agent while they were transporting six illegal immigrants.
"Texas Department of Public Safety and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was notified."
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Salas' death "is a somber reminder of the selfless sacrifices our law enforcement make."
Saddened to hear that Texas DPS Special Agent Anthony Salas was killed in a horrific vehicle accident in the line of duty in Eagle Pass.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 22, 2022
This tragedy is a somber reminder of the selfless sacrifices our law enforcement make.
Join Cecilia & me in praying for Agent Salas' family. pic.twitter.com/3ByzCPYXFh
On Facebook, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), who represents Eagle Pass, said, "Angel and I are heartbroken for Special Agent Salas’ family, friends, coworkers and all those who loved him. Maverick County and the surrounding areas are the epicenter of one of our worst crises in decades. Our DPS agents, border patrol and law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to protect our country. Their sacrifice is never far from our thoughts."
Salas' body was returned to El Paso with his family on Monday.
Today, DPS was honored to fly Special Agent Anthony Salas, along with his wife, back home to El Paso in a DPS aircraft where many of SA Salas’ family were waiting to reunite. Dozens of law enforcement partners also awaited his arrival to stand and honor his service and sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/AEIsT5Wwb0— TxDPS - West Texas Region (@TxDPSWest) January 24, 2022