(The Center Square) – Recent murders of Houstonians highlight how the border crisis is impacting the largest city in the state. While criminal aliens have reportedly committed numerous murders, two recent ones highlight a troubling pattern, authorities have told The Center Square.
Gov. Greg Abbott warned about the consequences of President Joe Biden’s “open border policies” earlier this week, which he said were having “a devastating impact on every community in our nation.” On Sunday, Gov. Abbott met with 13 Republican governors in Eagle Pass, Texas, to express their commitment to border security and states’ constitutional right to self-defense. “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.”
Last month, after four teenagers went bowling on a Friday night in southwest Houston and were driving home on the Southwest Freeway near Beechnut Street, a man aggressively tailgated them and fired shots into their vehicle. Police later learned the alleged culprit was a twice-deported criminal alien from El Salvador, who was illegally in the country.
Of the two 18-year-olds and two 19-year-olds in the car, the driver was the only one to not be hit by bullets. The front seat passenger, Otarion Lomax, was shot in the head; two female passengers in the back seat were hit. Lomax later died at the hospital, the others survived.
“Within about three hours officers had located the suspect vehicle,” Houston Police Sergeant John Stroble said. Vasquez-Guzman was arrested on Jan. 29 for traffic violations by a Houston Police officer, brought in for questioning by HPD homicide officers, and booked into the Harris County Jail.
Vasquez-Guzman, an El Salvador national, was deported in September 2010, illegally reentered at an unknown time and place and was deported again in February 2020, only to illegally reenter Texas again, according to court documents.
The incident follows another committed by a criminal alien from El Salvador also illegally in the country. Last year, Oscar Rosales was charged with capital murder after he allegedly murdered Harris County Constable Corporal Charles Galloway, also on Beechnut Street in southwest Houston.
After the alleged shooting, Rosales absconded, and a three-day manhunt ensued involving multiple law enforcement agencies. He was eventually caught by Mexican authorities in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, located across the Rio Grande River from Del Rio, Texas. He was transported to the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office and then to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, where he was booked in the Harris County Jail, according to multiple news reports.
Prior to allegedly murdering Galloway, Rosales had 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.
According to information from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Rosales was on deferred adjudication for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon dating back to December 10, 1995; a motion to adjudicate had been filed in June 1996. It is unclear when he illegally entered the country or how long he had been living in Houston.
Vasquez-Guzman and Rosales are like some of the millions of others who 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 Border Patrol agents. Law enforcement officers have no idea 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.
While Texas law enforcement officers working through Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, can’t catch everyone, they’ve made an unprecedented more than 39,000 criminal arrests with more than 35,200 felony charges reported, the governor said this week.
Everyone they’ve arrested, Abbott argues, “would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Joe Biden’s open border policies.”